The Winner’s Kiss
March 29, 2016
The Winner’s Kiss was the magnificent conclusion to Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s trilogy. The entire series has been leading up to this third installment. The characters were fully developed, the storytelling was beautiful, and the world was complex. The Winner’s Kiss was truly a successful and exciting end to a series.
Kestrel has been sent to the ice mines as a slave because she was caught as a spy for Herran. Her only hope for freedom is Arin. Arin has moved on from Kestrel. At leasts that what he tells himself. He is now in charge of the Herrani and Dacran armies that will defeat Valoria. He and his people will finally be free.
The characters in The Winner’s Kiss have really matured and developed. Arin and Kestrel no longer are unsure about their choices. They are now confident in themselves and each other. The one problem I had with Arin’s character was with the death god. All of sudden in The Winner’s Kiss, the god of death talks to Arin and saves him in bad situation. This was never even mentioned in any of the past books, and it was just a little sudden. I really did enjoy reading about Kestrel and Arin, though. My favorite character in The Winner’s Kiss was Arin’s friend Roshar. He was super funny, but he was not a shallow character. He had power, but didn’t use it against people. He really cared about his country, Arin, and Kestrel. One problem I had was with the emperor. In The Winner’s Crime, there was the overarching threat of the emperor. You could always feel the danger while you read. With The Winner’s Kiss, however, you couldn’t sense the presence of the enemy. This ruined some of the suspense.
I don’t touch on this in my reviews for The Winner’s Curse or The Winner’s Crime, but I love how both the Herrani and Valorian worlds have distinct worlds. The Herrani had grey eyes, dark hair, liked the arts. ect. The Valorians had golden hair, pale skin, and strongly believed strongly in war. I really liked how well the countries were described.
The relationships in The Winner’s Kiss were all amazing. There was a lot more romance in The Winner’s Kiss then there was in the first two books. Though at times I wished for the more Kestrel and Arin days, I liked the romance in this book. Arin and Roshar also had a lovely and hilarious friendship. They both protected and trusted each other, both they also joked around a lot (specifically Roshar). Some of the character relationships were fun to watch develop in The Winner’s Kiss.
(The following paragraph will contain spoilers to this book. Read at your own risk)
The biggest fault with The Winner’s Kiss was the end. The book ended way too abruptly. It would have been nice to see an epilogue to really wrap everything up. The other problem with the end was how perfect it was. Half the book took place on the battlefield. Every character nearly died at least five times. Yet nobody actually did. Kestrel and Arin are getting married. Verex and Risha are running away to some foreign island and getting married so Verex doesn’t have to rule Valoria (who is ruling Valoria?). Arin gets to keep Herrani (I’m pretty sure the whole “Roshar own Arin” plotline was their so that the scene at the end could happen). Nothing bad happened to any of the characters and it was unrealistic.
Overall The Winner’s Kiss was a wonderful conclusion to The Winner’s trilogy. The characters were developed, the setting was well described, and the relationships were genuine. I definitely recommend reading The Winner’s trilogy. What did you like about The Winner’s Kiss? What didn’t you like? I would love to know.