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The Winner's Kiss

(The Winner's Trilogy #3)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  46,829 ratings  ·  6,545 reviews
Some kisses come at a price.

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certa
Hardcover, 486 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Maciel I read both books within 2 days too!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I can't wait!!!! T___T…moreI read both books within 2 days too!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I can't wait!!!! T___T(less)
Marie Rutkoski The publisher decided to keep the old cover (with the red dress) for the third hardback book. The new covers will be for the paperbacks. The hardbacks…moreThe publisher decided to keep the old cover (with the red dress) for the third hardback book. The new covers will be for the paperbacks. The hardbacks will match each other. So will the paperbacks.(less)
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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. MaasLady Midnight by Cassandra ClareThe Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  46,829 ratings  ·  6,545 reviews

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Emily May
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, 2016, fantasy, arc
No battle is won without a good gamble.

This series has come a long way from its tame romantic beginnings in The Winner's Curse. The final installment finishes the series on an emotional, action-packed high, weaving in more game, winning and gambling metaphors to add to the running theme.

A couple of years ago, I was disappointed with the much-loved The Winner's Curse. The author had a good writing style that engaged the reader, but it was so tame! So much romance dampening the secrets, reveng
Steph Sinclair
Final books are hard. Readers dive in with so many expectations, hopes and fears, and let's not forget the ships. I suspect it must be at least a little daunting for an author to want to give their readers everything and stay true to their story. Friends, for me, Marie Rutkoski has done just that. This story has taken me on a remarkable journey, capturing my heart and and melting my emotions in one fell swoop.

The Winner's Kiss is a perfect conclusion to an expertly crafted series. And as always
Victoria Schwab
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Gods I love this series. Flawless.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book on one sitting. I have no regrets.
Renée Ahdieh
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
a beautiful end to one of my favorite series ever. quintessentially marie <3
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before Reading: I'm going to need Arin and Kestrel kissing. Each other. A lot. Forever.

After Reading: NOT ENOUGH STARS IN THE UNIVERSE! LOVELOVELOVELOVE! This was beyond anything I could have imagined or asked for, for this book and these characters. Seriously. It was perfection. PERFECTION. Read it.

Dear Marie Rutkoski,

Thank you.

Thank you for this world and these characters and this story.

Thank you for showing that a girl's intelligence, tenacity, determination and cunning is every bit as appea
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm crying and screaming and laughing and shaking, I'm full of so many emotions but most of all just happiness; I can't believe this series is over, but I am so so overjoyed with how it ended. Review to come when I finally stop smiling like an idiot and my hands stop shaking. ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Marie Rutkoski isn't an ordinary author.
She's an artist.
“Later, Kestrel wished she had spoken then, that no time had been lost. She wished that she’d had the courage that very moment to tell Arin what she’d finally known to be true: that she loved him with the whole of her heart.”

The Winner's Kiss isn't an ordinary book.
It's a poem. A sad melody. The blood that pumps in your veins. The air that ruffles your hair.
It's a promise. A promise of love lost and found.
It is beauty, in its pu
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"He didn’t smile. He cupped her face with both hands. An emotion tugged at his expression, a dark awe, the kind saved for a wild storm that rends the sky but doesn’t ravage your existence, doesn’t destroy every thing you love. The one that lets you feel saved"

I finally finished this series! YAY!!!!

I promised myself no more reading until after my basic science exam, but I broke it. Shame on me!

I have this hollow feeling after reading this book, I loved it and all, but the ending left me kind of d
Reread and man oh man, this story still has so much soul, depth and authenticity that only gets richer with each reread.
It’s not a story that I’ll ever tire off. I’m in love!


Original review.
"You don’t need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon."

Well, shit. This book!!!! My heart feel so heavy right now. I'm so sad that it's over!

The Winner's Kiss was absolute perfection for me, start to finish. Every page. My mind is all over the place at the moment, and I cannot
✨ Helena ✨
“You don't need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.”

*Please note that there are spoilers from the Winner’s Curse and the Winner’s Crime, as well as some minor ones from the Winner’s Kiss. So, if you haven’t read these, proceed at your own risk.* (aka: don’t @ me in the comments for spoilers!)

This was another buddy read with Laura, of course (OMG this is like our fourth by now. Go us!). AND NYAH NYAH NYAH! I’M WINNING AGAIN! MUAHAHAHAHA! ;)

The roles have seemingly reversed in
Are you really a boy, like Xash says? the god asked Arin. You’ve been mine for twenty years. I raised you.
The Valorian signed the scrap of paper.
Cared for you.
The message was rolled, sealed, and pushed into a tiny leather tube.
Watched over you when you thought you were alone.
The captain tied the tube to hawk’s leg. The bird was too large to be a kestrel. It didn’t have a kestrel’s markings. It cocked its head, turning its glass-bead eyes on Arin.
No, not a boy. A man made in my image…one who know
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
what a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series. after the frustration that was 'the winners crime,' i had my doubts. but this book reminded me exactly why i love this series.

i love that kestrel is a strong female main character. but it isnt physical strength (which is common in stories set during a war), its mental. we stan a smart and cunning woman.

i love that arin has such a gentleness to him for being an absolute beast. hes ruthless, but hes also tender when it matters. i love that comp
Drcong O '
Rating has been raised to 2.5 stars.


I think I finally understand how my parents feel about me.

D I S A P P O I N T E D big fucking time man.

I feel like a totally different author wrote this book. Literally everything about this book seems so different and changed and you know what, I refuse to believe that this book is the ending to my most fucking favorite series (hint: The Winner's trilogy).

At the mines, Kestrel is given a drug with her meals and drinks that slowly make
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
this book is a fr*cking masterpiece. it is everything i could've dreamed it to be and more. there's not a thing i would change about this book. ...more
Simona B
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000, in-english
"Her worst trait. Her best trait.
Her mind ringed with hungry rows of foxlike teeth."

I have had to deal with heroines, or called so, of all sorts. The fierce, the whiny, the hotheaded, the softie-and-swoony. The ones who can fight and the ones who cannot, the ones who can think and the ones who cannot; princesses, commoners, magicians, assassins, many, so many of them, and all different one from the other, for better or for worse.
But none, none of them even compare to Kestrel. The one with the cu
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Satisfied with this ending =) ♥


So lets talk spoilers =)


So many things took a turn in this book.

Kestrel was found out! She had been supplying information to a spy for Arin and the Herrani. Of course, Arin didn't know this because Kestrel had to keep him at a safe distance. Otherwise he would do a dick move and get them all killed.

Arin is a twat at times and he thought everything Kestrel did to make him not like her was true. Men! So he decides he doesn't care for her any more. Yeah. . . .

The Winner’s Trilogy is without a doubt one of my favourite series ever, from its captivating writing, the incredible characters and those crafty plot twists, Rutkoski has proven with each new release that she can still leave us in a complete state of shock…. The same can definitely be said for The Winner’s Kiss; my dear friends, you may want to brace yourselves.

After the heart-breaking ending of The Winner’s Crime, Kestrel is in a barbaric work camp where she is drugged in order to work tirele

I am writing this as a ghost because this book killed me.
I, Erica's ghost, have a lot of things to say about this but feel inadequate to verbalize my love/obsession/adoration/fascination with this spectacular story using coherent thought. Some other reviews somehow managed this, such as Nina's, Simona's, and Chantal's.

But I shall try.

To begin, I would like to say that I read this for about 7 hours straight. I ignored the existence of time to fulfill my addiction to this series, which is, hones
I received an Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I'm sure it will be no surprise that I loved this book. I don't think I know anyone who hasn't loved this series, and when I found out that The Winner's Kiss was up on NetGalley, I requested it so quickly. I was in the library doing research for an assignment when I got the email came through that I'd been approved, and let me tell you, it was extremely difficult to keep my attention on civil war battles when I k
Well, cancel 2017.

What do you rate a book when you’re saddened to your core that you finished the series, but also you didn’t enjoy it and thought it was objectively not good? WHAT DO I DO? It’s like mourning a childhood friend who turned out to be a meninist, or a My Little Pony fan, or a fan of buttered popcorn-flavored jelly beans. You know, something definitively but somewhat harmlessly Bad™.

God, I love that gif. Okay. Okay okay okay. I’m going to try
Fellow readers and fangirls, I have come to preach to you the awesomeness that is this book, this series, this writer. And I’ve come armed. With words. And feels. And quotes.

feels photo: tumblr_inline_mfkq86L8zl1qg61c1_zps68a607fc.gif

The Winner’s Curse was a gentle introduction to the characters, the world and the romance. I loved it. The Winner’s Crime was a crescendo of court intrigue, sticky webs of lies and the first glimpses of war. I loved it. The Winner’s Kiss was a battle cry. I loved it.

I had astronomical expectations for this book, and it
After that ending of The Winner's Crime, I was dying to get my greedy hands on this book and I could never have expected what we got.

The feels start right from the beginning and it's a rollercoaster that lasts the entire book. I have loved Kestrel and Arin and I loved seeing how much they've grown from book 1. They're different, yet the same. And can I please get a novella or spin off with all of the Roshar? I floved every single scene with him.

Please excuse my vague review, I would never want t
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Buddy read with Lys <3
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This may even be 4.5/5 stars but it just wasn't quite there for me though it was prETTY STINKING CLOSE.

I am a ball of emotions guys. I cried MULTIPLE times in this book from lots of feELINGS.

Kestrel is seriously one of my favorite protagonists ever. She's smart strategically and doesn't let anyone tell her what she can and cannot do - and she's not *totally* adept at fighting, though she is competent, but her real strength lies in her amazing ability to play the political game.

I also love Arin,

Buddy read with my partners in suffering Katerina & Vera. Thank you, girls, for helping me survive this book *hearty hug*

Actual rating: 5+

You don’t need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.”

If you know me, you probably know that my two most favorite book series are ending this year. The Raven Boys and The winner's trilogy. It's hard because they end a mere month from each other. An emotional blow. The Winner's kiss's time is up. It's the hardest review I have ever written, n

Mikee (ReadWithMikee)
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it

RATING: {★ ★ ★ ★}

The Winner's Kiss was a beautiful ending to a beautiful series. Marie Rutkoski truly outdid herself. This final installment was definitely much better than The Winner's Crime.

The first half of the book was absolutely fantastic. I loved that Arin and Kestrel were finally reunited. I loved the angst and stress that we had to go through with Kestrel while she lost her memories. My heart broke for her a thousand times because of what she had to endure at the work camp, and Arin for
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020

Or really I don't even mind if there's no smooching, but some goddamn honest communication would be so nice. Never have I wanted a conversation to happen between two characters so badly (view spoiler)
Andreea Pop
“Stories will get you killed.”

Brilliant. Gods-given, brilliant literature. I am forever in love with these books, because like any other final installment, The Winner's Kiss had the power to shatter the story or to lift it to heavenly skies. And thank the gods, it was beyond beautiful. This is how you end a series. This is how you give readers a satisfying conclusion. And, most importantly, this is how you uphold the promise to your own characters -- you let them come alive.

The previous boo
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Marie Rutkoski is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for children and young adults, including THE HOLLOW HEART (September 14, 2021). Her debut for adults, REAL EASY (January 18, 2022), is a psychological thriller.

Born in Illinois, Marie holds degrees from the University of Iowa and Harvard University. She is currently a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with

Other books in the series

The Winner's Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
  • The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)

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“You don't need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.” 264 likes
“He changed us both." She seemed to struggle for words. "I think of you, all that you lost, who you were, what you were forced to be, and might have been, and I—I have become this, this person, unable to—"

She shut her mouth.

"Kestrel," he said softly, "I love this person.”
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