Really Really Short Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski


Welcome to Really Really Short Reviews were the name is long and the reviews are short! Because sometimes short is that much sweeter. (Also, because I’m really lazy!) And there might be quotes too (lots and lots)! (Because everyone loves quotes, right?)

Really Really Short Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #3
on March 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 484

Some kisses come at a price.
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing.
As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?


(I thought I had written a review for this, but apparently I didn’t…so here’s some thoughts about the book!)

I loved that this book had a whole bunch Kestrel and Arin cuteness that makes up for all the angst in The Winner’s Crime. The romance was just so lovely.

He struggled, knuckled his eyes, and let the words come. “I want you to be mine, wholly mine, your heart, too. I want you to feel the same way.”

I loved the hilarious trio of  Kestrel, Arin and Roshar.

A smile tugged the corner of Arin’s mouth. The air was gritty with sawdust. “After everything,” he told Kestrel, “I wouldn’t let you be harmed by a tree.”
“Me,” Roshar said pointedly. “You mean me.”

Actually, I love them each on their own, too. I loved the development of their character. And be prepared to have the crap charmed out of you by Prince Roshar.

“Tell me little ghost: do you enjoy my company?”

She was surprised. “Yes.”

“I enjoy yours, too. I can see why you like me. I’m intelligent, charming – not to mention handsome.”

“And skilled at preening. Let’s not forget that.”

There’s battles, and plot twist, and psychological warfare. And it’s so well done.

Overall, a satisfying conclusion.

“I want better choices.”

“Then we must make a world that has them”


Of Roshar. Because he’s amazing:

“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.”


“I have a confession,” he said. “Sometimes I offend on purpose. It’s like my smile.”
“That’s not an apology.”
“Princes don’t apologize.”

And cuteness that is Kestrel and Arin:

“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.

And besties Arin and Roshar:

“Choose what ever suite suits you best,” Arin said. “But please: keep that tiger in his cage.”
“Arin’s a kitten,” Roshar protested. Purely for the purpose of annoying Arin, it seemed, Roshar had named the tiger after him. “He’s sweet-tempered and polite and very good-looking . . . unlike some people I could mention.”

About Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

11 Replies to “Really Really Short Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski”

  1. Roshar was my favourite character! I definitely loved how it was done even though the amnesia thing frustrated me.

    1. He’s just so fantastic!
      Haha, I remember being like what the heck amnesia? Are we in a Asian drama?? But I still liked finale 😉

  2. You know I tried book one on audio and set it down, but I should retry as it sounds like the trilogy wrapped up nicely.

    1. And it’s always easier when the series is finished! I know the TBR list only gets longer never shorter haha

  3. I still have the 1st in this series and haven’t dug in yet…one of these days!

    1. Hopefully soon 😉 And I hope you enjoy it!

  4. gah I really wish I loved book 1 more, but I don’t know, I didn’t have the motivation to pick book 2 after book 1 but it sounds like the books went in and interesting direction.

    1. Oh shoot, that’s too bad! Book two is a bit angsty, but I really enjoyed this finale! So hopefully you enjoy it more if you pick it up again!

  5. Eeep, I adored this one too!! Although I’m forever confused why the US vs UK covers have different colours for their dresses. I thought this was The Winner’s Crime review for a minute hahah because we have the red dress on that second book cover and green for the last. PUBLISHING IS SO WEIRD.😂 But anyway. I loved eeeeverything about this precious book, particularly the finale. <3

    1. Haha yeah, the different colours throw me off, too! I do wonder why they didn’t keep the same colour, Oh well. Sometimes I like the variety in covers, haha.
      Glad you loved it, too!

  6. I love this series so much! This was a wonderful conclusion.

Leave a Reply