C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Winner's Kiss

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, best-of-2016, epic-fantasy, read-2016, young-adult

Oh WHEEEERE DO I EVEN START WITH THIS GLORIOUSNESS!?!?!? It's really hard to review series finales. Really hard. So I hope you're sitting here appreciating my effort. Also, just to be clear upfront: This book was perfect and EVERYTHING I wanted. So basically you can stop reading the review now and gooooo read the book.

(Just kidding. The review is gonna be awesome.)
(Keep reading.)

(Also I'm really glad I reread the first two. This is a series that tastes better the second time round because you see just how CLEVER the plot is and just how carefully complex and conspiracies are.)

(Attempting to keep it spoiler freeeee!)

• KESTREL IS FREAKING AMAZING. I have so much love for her. She changes a lot in this book, but it's about rediscovering who she was before? And also knowing she can never go back and THIS is who she is now. I really really love that, because it's SUCH an important message. We're going to change. We all are. And it's okay. And you can still be loved even if you're not the person you were before. Kestrel's suffering is ramped up to like 10000% here. Omgggg...I felt the pain. She doesn't just sit around and cry though. sHE IS SO STRONG. But not in a fighting sense? (Although she does so much more physical fighting in this book.) She ends up in a war of her own mind and it's heartbreaking and perfectly written. (view spoiler)

And the romance? The romance was freeeeakin' AWESOME. I don't usually adore romances in books? But these two little idiots, Kestrel and Arin? I ship them. I ship them so hard I could combust. After the ANGST of book 2 and the secrets and lies and deceit, this book was about them getting to know each other again. It was beautiful. IT WAS TERRIBLE. Terrible beautiful. I don't know how that's a thing but it is.

• Least to say, aggressive shipping from me.

• And it was perfectly written.

Actually the whole book was perfectly written. It's definitely larger than the first two and it DID have slowish moments. There were several battles I was blinking a little distractedly at. But the author keeps the scenes snappy and short, so THERE'S THAT.

Did I mention everything BLEEDS? Because there are a lot of battles. A lot of blood. a LOT OF FREAKING OUT ON MY BEHALF. (No, no, I wasn't totally and dangerously emotionally involved, why do you ask?)

Also my love for Roshar just doubles. We met him in The Winner's Crime, sort of as Arin's captor? But now he and Arin and are working together and THEY BE GREAT FRIENDS. And by "Friends" I mean Roshar is an arrogant sassy prince who spends 94% of his energy DRIVING ARIN NUTS. The banter is perfect. The first two books didn't really have banter?! But I was so so smiling for this one. I may have cackled heinously a few times -- but I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S THAT FUNNY OR I AM JUST SO TRAUMATISED I NEEDED A RELEASE. (view spoiler)
"I've been thinking."
"Dear gods."
"It occurs to me that you have no official rank, and that I, as your prince, might give you one." He said an eastern word Arin didn't know. "Well? Will it suit?"
"Whether that word was some horrific insult you're pretending is an actual military rank."
"How mistrustful! Arin, I have taught you every foul curse I know."

Bless them. Oh and also this one:
"Leave her alone."
"You underestimate my charm. Granted, she once pulled that dagger on me, but we've put that behind us. She likes me. I am very likeable."

You are likeable, Roshar. Don't let mooooody Arin tell you otherwise.

I honestly choked up. SEVERAL TIMES. What is this life. What is this emotional bundle of feels I've become. I'm just so relieved that the book grew the characters, stayed TRUE to the characters, and then gave them the ending I wanted. (I can't tell you what I wanted, obviously, because SPOILERS. Mwahahaha.)

Also Arin spends a lot of of time talking to the God of Death in this head. We have to admit he's going to go a little bonkers after all he's been through, right?!? But I actually really adored this edition. Especially the reveal, in a battle, where Arin realises (view spoiler) MA BABY'S ALL DONE GROW'D UP AND KILLING ALL THINGS.

There are still plot twists and clever battle tactics. It has more ACTION than the last books, but it still keeps in all the political aspects and psychological warfare that is perfect and why I'm reading this. Don't get me wrong: I love action scenes....but what I love MORE is that this book takes it from a different angle.

• Also I really loved how Arin was so fiercely protective of Kestrel -- BUT HE LET HER BE HERSELF. I do not find it romantic when the boy tries to "lock up the girl" with good intentions to keep her safe. No. They both live. They both fight. They both break my heart like little IDIOTS because they keep throwing themselves into so much peril.

• Shipping shiiiiipping SHIP SHIPPY SHIPPING.


• MY HEART IS SO FULL RIGHT NOW. I ALSO HAVE 9 PAINS BECAUSE REASONS. I think 3/4s of my heart collapsed.

• Okaaaay, okay, I'll shush now. But this is a perfect finale. Go read it. Immediately.

She thought of her past. Her whole life. "I want better choices."
"Then we must make a world that has them."

"I don't know you well," Risha's voice was low. "But I know what Verex has told me about you, and what I see for myself. You don't need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon."

If asked whether men and women were equal, he would've said yes. Should they be treated the same? Yes. By logic, no mercy to men meant no mercy to women.

"But you didn't try to ride me down."
"You wanted to."
"What stopped you?"
"Fear," he said, "of what it would mean for me not to trust you. I saddled a horse. I was ready to ride...but I thought that if I did, I'd be nothing more than a different kind of prison to you."
His words made her feel strange.
He changed his tone. There was mischief in it now. "Also, you're a little intimidating."
"I am not."
"Oh, yes. I didn't think you'd appreciate being followed I've seen what happens to people who get on your bad side. And now you know my weakness, and will drop spiders down the back of my shirt if I cross you, and I'll have a hard life indeed."
"Hmph," she said, but she had calmed.
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Reading Progress

September 10, 2015 – Shelved
September 10, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 11, 2016 – Started Reading
April 11, 2016 –
page 106
April 11, 2016 –
page 210
43.39% "I'm so UNBELIEVABLY STRESSED RIGHT NOW. \n Is everything I love going to diiiiie??? ;_;"
April 12, 2016 –
page 351
72.52% "Basically Roshar is everything:\n "You underestimate my charm. Granted, she once pulled that dagger on me, but we've put that behind us. She likes me. I am very likeable."\n YES YOU ARE ROSHAR DARLING."
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: best-of-2016
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
April 12, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
April 12, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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Anne And this folks, is how you end a series! I love these idiots.

C.G. Drews I LOVE THESE IDIOTS TOO. *flails*

message 3: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Pickle OMO I LOVED ROSHAR AND ARIN IN THE PREVIOUS BOOK. I'm so happy there's more of them in this one. HALP I NEED THIS BOOK LIKE TWO WEEKS AGO.

Katherine I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I agree 2000% with everything you've said here. Kestrel and Arin are precious babies.

message 5: by Lucy (new) - added it

Lucy Buller OMW I HAVE TO READ THIS NOWWWWWWWW (I mean, I wanted to before, but nowww.... SO MUCH MORE INCENTIVE)



@Ryebrynn: Dude, YES. Just drop everything and devour it.

message 7: by Lucy (new) - added it

Lucy Buller @Cait: OKay I wiLL

April (BooksWithMaps) I'm almost done with this one. It's AH MAZING I'm dragging it out as much as possible....but I'll probably have to just let go and finish it tomorrow :)


message 10: by Lauren (new) - added it

Lauren I literally cannot wait to get a copy of this book!!! I actually didn't ship Kestrel and Arin in the first two, but hopefully in this one!! :-)

Rachana Hegde I just started this book and your review has me so excited eeek!!! (Cait your reviews are always so so amazing btw)

message 12: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Rachana: OMG THANK YOU. <3 YOU ARE TOO KIND.

message 13: by Lara (new) - added it

Lara Malik I started reading the first book yesterday, I'm so exited to read the whole series! Unfortunately in my country just arrived the first one, I'll have to waittttt ><

Al Anoud Now I want to read it but I can't because of my finals :''(

Karen Gloriousness is accurate. Great review, Cait.

message 16: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Karen: Yay I'm glad you agree!! :D

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