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

 

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Book Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy: Book 2)

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Rating: 5/5 stars.

Whoa people. Just whoa. How could a book end like that? I must have the next one like now! This had so many plot twists. It was so intense. I loved it.

Kestrel is planning to marry the emperor’s only son. Most people would be excited and joyful about the planned marriage because soon they’d be inheriting the empire. But Kestrel knows that as soon as she marries, she’ll be trapped in a cage. She wants to Arin why she really married the emperor’s son: to save him. But she knows the decisions he’ll make if she does. So she does her best to convince him of the lies. Arin knows that Herran, now a separate territory but under the rule of the emperor, is free, but it won’t last long and he must find a more permanent way to keep the Herrani free. What he doesn’t know is that Kestrel has begun to work as a spy for Herran and is about to discover a deadly secret. If she is found out, everything is undone.

Kestrel. Oh my goodness I loved her. I understood her struggles. She made some of the hardest decisions anyone ever has to make. She kept up the lies and deception for a purpose. She was such a strategist. She was smart. She thought through her decisions. She was strong, but not in a physical way. Arin, I feel bad for him. He’s so clueless. Kestrel tells her lies too well. And he believes her. But for some reason, he still loves her. He still trusts her in a way that defines all understanding. The emperor was sly and terribly evil. He was smarter than he looked. He was definitely more than meets the eye.

This was intense. Very intense. Kestrel doing traitorous things that could get herself killed literally right in front the of enemies’ faces, scary me. How can it not be intense, when one wrong move could mean the end of all your favorite characters’ lives? It was like the quiet before the storm. Your just waiting for it to break out. The secrets were horrifying. It was shocking how cruel the empire was, how far they were willing to go to expand the empire. Then the ending. It was heart wrenching!

There wasn’t a ton of violence, but where there was violence, it was very descriptive. It was a bit disgusting, if you really thought about it. So for those who can’t stand violence, I wouldn’t recommend this.

The writing was beautiful. I loved all the metaphors and similes. It was beautiful. It was emotional. It was made my heart beat fast. It thrilled me. I really loved it, if you can’t tell.

There was maybe a handful of bad words. Not a lot at all. There looked to be the start of a sexual scene, but it was skipped over. There was one intense kissing moment, but it didn’t go any farther.

Alright. So I just loved this book and I recommend this to older teens and up. It was really amazing. I love this fantasy world.

G. Paige

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy: Book 1)

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Ahhhhh! What did I just read?! Something with a lot of tension, love, betrayal, and strategy!

Kestrel is a general’s daughter, wealthy, well known, and respected. She has had the most luxurious life. Arin, now a Herrani slave, has lost everything. When Kestrel makes the impulsive decision to buy him, it sets off a chain of events that will change her and her country forever. They begin to fall in love, something neither of them expected or wanted. But to be together, it would mean betraying everything they have grown up believing and defying all law and order. More important, Arin holds a secret that, if he is to be loyal to his country, will lead him to betray her and everyone she cares about.

Kestrel, I loved her. She wasn’t this tough warrior girl as you would expect. Though she did know a lot of  different types of fighting techniques, she was only adequate with them. She wasn’t a master sword fighter or knife thrower. But she was excellent at strategy. Also, she plays the piano! As a pliant player myself, I loved it! She was smart, but she didn’t even begin to be suspicious towards Arin. It was like he was too close for her to see through to his plans. I guess loving someone can blind you to their ways. Arin, oh I so felt for him. His presence was formidable. He was a defiant person, but he went about it in a quiet way. Silently, he rebelled against where life had put him. Every once in awhile, he would speak his mind. He too, was a great strategist. And full of many other surprises.

Plot wise, it was fabulous. It was fast and intriguing. I loved how Kestrel and Arin interacted with each other. They were each inquisitive, but very sly about it. Their dialogue was very tense at some moments and funny at other moments. It was so interesting and sweet! The smaller conflicts flowed within the story perfectly. I was tense the whole book. The betrayals! Oh, I was already freaking out for when it was to come, but once it happened. No. No. No. They weren’t the same from that point. And it tore my heart piece by piece. Then the end! No, everything must work out all right. It must!

The writing was beautiful. I mean really beautiful and so moving. It made the characters have more depth, more weight. I felt so connected to them. There were so many quotable moments. I enjoyed it a lot.

There was mentions of guys having affairs with certain married women. One guy started to make a move on Kestrel, but it was stopped. There was some kissing, but nothing more.

To conclude, I’m going to say that you just need to read this. It’ll probably be best for older teens. It was intriguing, exciting, heart wrenching, and beautiful. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! I must have it!

-G. Paige