The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Published March 29th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads Summary: 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?
Review: This book was definitely the perfect ending I was looking for for this trilogy. It started off with me being really stressful because of where Kestrel was at, and what Arin thought of her. I was so worried that I would never see the two of them together again. Thankfully this was not the case. However, due to the conditions of the prison she was kept in, she couldn’t remember who he was or what he was to her. It was definitely heartbreaking to see. But once Kestrel began to find her bearings and remember things, she was eager to help Arin and his allies. Lots of suspenseful thrills in this book with the war going on. Kestrel totally proved herself to be the ultimate master of manipulation and it was awesome to see it work so well. I don’t want to say anything more to ruin it for people who haven’t read it though. Overall I really loved this final installment of The Winner’s Trilogy.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Published March 3rd 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads Summary: Following your heart can be a crime
A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?
Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world…and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.
This dazzling follow-up to The Winner’s Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
Review: There were so many times in this sequel that I wanted to reach through the pages and grip Kestrel by the shoulders to shake some sense into her. Maybe sense isn’t the right word for it… I just wanted to her to come clean with Arin and fill him in! There was so much angst between the two of them in this book. I really enjoyed how Kestrel became Tensen’s Moth. I did like seeing that the Emperor’s son was also appalled at what his father was doing. It was fun to see him and Kestrel forge a bond like siblings, even though they were engaged to be married. Roshar definitely cracked me up as a character. I love how he liked to pick on Arin, and naming the tiger cub they found Arin was the cutest thing.
One thing about this book that really gripped me was the development between Kestrel and her father. I don’t want to spoil anything that happens but just know that it really tears at your heartstrings in more ways than one!
I really enjoyed this sequel and I loved the setup for the final book in the trilogy.