The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I had so, so many hopes for this book. The Winner’s Curse was alright, The Winner’s Crime was perfection, and The Winner’s Kiss was just… eh. I wasn’t disappointed necessarily by the ending, but I was definitely underwhelmed and wanted to skip over things.kiss

So let’s discuss Kestrel. She was such a great character in the first two books. She was incredibly strong, smart, and insightful. But in Kiss, I didn’t recognize her. I’m really not one to go for the memory loss thing. I suppose you could consider this version of Kestrel to be a true one. This Kestrel doesn’t remember being raised in the lap of luxury like the original.

Arin. I swooned SO hard over Arin in the second book. But this one, he was almost too broody and over-protective for me. It gave me a sour taste in my mouth. I know that Kestrel was in a vulnerable state, but Arin knows darn well that Kestrel is incredibly tough.

“Yes,” Arin said, “but even so, the risk for you is still different-”
“Stop saying that.”
“It is.” His face was unhappy. “There is a difference between you and me. If I die, you’ll survive. If you die, it will destroy me.”

Yuck. Who’s he to say that her grief would be different? I just can’t ship that.
Unpopular opinion time, with Kestrel’s new personality, I kind of would have rather had them split up at the end… Like a met each other and changed for the better thing.

Their relationship really fell flat for me. I didn’t find myself holding my breath like in Crime. Arin and Kestrel kissing in secret at the palace? HELLO!

The pacing was another issue. I feel like all the battles were a bit of a filler. I have nothing against the last book resolving the major conflict and whatnot, but at least make it interesting enough that I don’t want to skip over it.
Arin and his god of death really kind of came out of nowhere too. I can’t say that I enjoyed it. Again, if that was something that would have been in the first two books, I would probably feel better about it.

I just have so many mixed feelings about this book! The highest I can go is 3.5 cats.




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