Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy: Book 3)

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Well, well, well… That was a swell ending. I’m not sure how I expected it to end, but certainly not like that. That was tricky and surprising.

Arin is convinced that he doesn’t love Kestrel. That she is now like every other Valorion. That she only wants to rule the empire. That she feels nothing for him. But if only that were true. Arin prepares for war against Valoria. He has made a treaty with the Dracan Queen to help Herran. But is there any real chance of winning? And if they do win, will the Queen take over their weakened country. Meanwhile Kestrel is in a work camp up in the northern tundra struggling to survive. She was caught and now she is paying the price of her traitorous actions. She wants Arin to know what she sacrificed for him. She wants him to rescue her, but that’s impossible. She lied too well. And Arin believed her.

Kestrel changed so much. She goes through the the lowest point in her life in this book. How she comes back, how she builds herself back up, how she puts herself back together, changes her forever. She’ll never be exactly the same. But she doesn’t have a lot of time before her skills are put to the test. And she begins to question herself, how well does she know her enemy? No matter what Kestrel did, there is still a place in Arin’s heart for Kestrel. He tries to make it not so, but that’s impossible. More and more Arin begins to listen to the god of death who whispers in his ear advice and orders. The god protects him and his hands are stained with much blood. He becomes more protective and more caring in his silent way.

The plot wasn’t as fast paced as the others, but that doesn’t mean that it was no less fantastic. There was much strategy that was so fun. There were sweet romantic moments that made me so happy that I just wanted to squeal. The battles were thrilling and intense. I was so worried for my favorite characters. They were very bloody and descriptive, so I wouldn’t suggest this for the squeamish. I wasn’t able to guess how this was going to end. It just kept surprising me all the time. By the time I got to the end, I was mind blown. What a tricky and plot twisting ending! It was perfect.

There was a bit of language. But not enough to really bother me. It was just maybe a handful of words. One man mentioned to enjoy the company of men more than women. It didn’t go into any more detail. Another problem I had were the love scenes between Arin and Kestrel. It happened about three or four times. Thankfully, it wasn’t very descriptive and it was short, so it wasn’t as bad as some other books I’ve read. But it still mentioned that at least one of them, if not both of them, taking off their clothes (or just their shirts). That annoyed me. But it hardly described the physical aspect of it, so it didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as I could’ve felt.

Overall, this was a pretty great book. Though it may not be my absolute favorite book of the trilogy, I really enjoyed this conclusion. It was quite thrilling. I’d recommend this to older teens for the stuff mentioned above.

-G. Paige