A Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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Rate: 4/5

Medium: Book

Overview (No Spoilers):

The Winner’s Kiss is the third and final installment of The Winner’s Trilogy, which I’ve promptly flown through. The series as a whole was staged in an artfully depicted and detailed world, that proceeded to grow with each subsequent book. Due to the ultimate cliffhanger that the preceding book had left the reader with, I dove right into this third book with high hopes and for 99.9% of the book was not disappointed. The well-developed characters continued their complex relationships and often influenced by their stubborn personalities, with often entertaining or eye-rolling events. However, at the end of the book there was so much left unresolved which seemed out of character for the series that had been exquisitely detailed up until this point. Overall, A Winner’s Kiss’ end seemed so abrupt I wanted to turn to page to see if Rutkoski has added an unseen Epilogue. I was disappointed that a series I’d thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in was left so open ended.

Additional Insight (May Contain Spoilers):

Questions I am left with:

  1. What will Kestrel do with her father and will they ever heal? She apparently wants them to heal or at least converse, however he remains jailed and stubbornly silent. This was a crucial piece of closure needed that was left open ended.
  2. While the Herrani’s future seemed set, what will happen with the Valorian’s now that their Emperor is dead and General captured? I doubt they will just give up. Kestrel and Arin seem to ignore this threat at the end of the book, completely disregarding the fact that someone worse might take over or someone without the general’s scruples regarding death. Rather out of character for both of these broad thinking characters. Also, I doubt the Eastern Queen will give up very easily either after being outwitted by her brother regarding Herrani?
  3. What happened to Jess? And what a sad, out of the limelight end for Ronan.
  4. While I liked the ending for Prince Verex and Risha, I can’t believe that they didn’t go back to the Valorian Court. They could have done so much for the country to heal it and stop it from warring. Ugh. Loose end!



  1. Gah, loose ends. I just read a ya sci fi that had several. It’s frustrating. Perhaps as ya authors grow in experience (and their books grow in length), there will be more room for complete storylines and worldbuilding. Thanks for the reviews on this series–I’ve been debating whether to read it or not! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t like this book, and sadly, I ended up skimming it. I enjoyed book one, slogged my way through book two, and only went on to book three because of book two’s great ending. But, oh, The Winner’s Kiss was a disappointment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree! I wonder if sometimes authors have more time and less stress to finish the first novel. The later books suffer with the added stress and deadlines as a result of the first book’s success. That’s one of the reasons you’ll never hear me lamenting about the length of time it takes for a Game of Thrones book! I would hate for it to feel rushed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree! My complaints about the length of time for Winds is really just impatience to read what happens next. I would rather GRRM take his time and write his best book instead of rushing for publication. And the longer it takes to come out, the more time for theories and discussion 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed! I wonder if she is going to use the vague ending to start a new trilogy in the same world. That is part of the reason I had to stop reading the series by Cassandra Clare. There was never a satisfying ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for coming by to visit my blog and liking my recent review! I have had this trilogy on my TBR for entirely too long, and you make it sound so good, I’ll have to move it up the impossible pile. Which of the three was your favorite?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really loved the first book in the series, however the rest of the trilogy was just ok. There are some edge of your seat cliff hangers that keep you reading though! Have you read Queen of the Tearling or Red Rising? Those are my two favorite trilogies I’ve read recently.


      • I have Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling (just in case!) on my shelf, but haven’t gotten to them yet. I did read Red Rising with my book club…I think earlier this year. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but I really enjoyed the last half or so. At some point, I’ll pick up the next one. Would you say Golden Son is better than Red Rising?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The series only gets better! One of the issues in the beginning of Red Rising is acclimating to that world. Now that you know what is going on it reads easier!


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