The Winner’s Kiss is the third and final book in the Winner’s series by Marie Rutkoski. In short, this is a fantasy series following our two main characters Kestrel and Arin filled with romance, politics and action. This will be a non-spoiler review of the book but it may contain mild spoilers of the previous books so enter with caution. If you would like to learn more about the series in general or specifically the second book in the series, you can check out my review for The Winner’s Crime.
In short, I absolutely adored this book. It was fast-paced and brimmed with twists and turns making the story so much more exciting to read. It definitely surpassed my expectations and went beyond to become one of my favourite last books in a series and one of my favourite fantasy series as a whole. Also let’s just take a minute the admire the beautiful covers of this series because gosh they’re so beautiful!!
Going into the book I wasn’t certain to how I would feel about it considering that I forgotten most of what had gone on during the previous two books since I read them over a year ago. Fortunately for me, this book did a super good job of briefly going over scenes in the last book when they were necessary making it easier for me to remember just what the hell happened. I’m super grateful for this and it made me appreciate the book a whole lot more.
First off we just have to talk about Marie Rutkoski’s writing style. The writing is rich, beautiful and descriptive making it really feel like you are in this world and following along with the characters on their journey. But at the same time, as I mentioned before, the story as a whole is definitely fast-paced leading to me having trouble putting it down each night. For example, I would decide to read just a few pages before going to sleep but alas 5 chapters and 1 hour later I had to force myself to put down the book in order to go to sleep.
What I also really appreciated about her writing was how complex and detailed each culture within the story was. Basically, the book consisted of three main nations that inhabit this area, Valoria, Herran and Darca. Each nation consists of its own culture including its own language, belief system, customs etc. I really loved how the author explored each one throughout the series and weaved their traditions throughout the plot. It added to the richness of the story and made it feel a lot more real and authentic. This is something I’ve rarely seen done so well in the books I’ve read but something I really want to see more of in the future.
Another part of the book I really enjoyed was the emphasis on politics in the book. You can’t have a war without politics and I think the book did a really good job of exploring this. The main character Kestrel, while not a talented fighter, is excellent at strategy and war which in my opinion, made her a totally unique character in my mind and made me admire her even more. I can’t really talk too much more without giving away spoilers but basically the political element to this book was amazing and again something unique to this series that I’ve rarely seen in the other books I’ve read.
Now let’s talk about characters. I absolutely adored getting to know all the characters in this series and I’m quite upset that we have to say goodbye to them now. The character development throughout the series and this book alone is amazing and so carefully done. It’s impossible to not love reading about each one especially through the dual point of views (which I also thought was done super well). The dynamic between our three main characters, or main representatives from each nation, Kestrel, Arin and Roshar was amazing and I loved all of the parts in which the three of them were together. The romance in the series was also incredible and 110% ship worthy. I really appreciated the balance between the romance and main plot and thought it weaved together really well.
And since this is the final book in the series I must talk about the ending as a whole. THE ENDING WAS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT AND COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER! Or at least, that’s what I believe. Okay I won’t say any more to avoid spoilers, but seriously I was super happy with the ending even though it did come quicker than expected. But on the other hand I did just want this book to continue on forever! As a whole, I would definitely give this book a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars along with a massive recommendation that you read it!
And there we have my review of The Winner’s Kiss. Let me know in the comments if you plan to read this book and series or what your thoughts on it were if you have read it! Thank you so much for checking out my review!
Gabby The Dauntless Warlock xx