War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He's finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can't quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people-and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that's what he thinks.
But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?
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I was excited to read this book. I am still working on the second but I have a feeling this would be the greatest series the author has done!😀
Perfect ending to an amazing series
The Winner's Kiss is everything you hope for in the final book of a series. It stayed true to the characters and the story and was the perfect ending to an amazing series.
Arin and Kestrel are back in all their tortured glory and the book picks right after the events of the second book. Kestrel, having been betrayed by her father, has made her way to the prison work camp. Ever the strategist, she has tried and failed to escape from her captures on the road, and she refuses to stop fighting at the camp, however the drugs they give Kestrel are changing Kestrel and she begins to start losing who she is.
Arin believes that Kestrel has betrayed him for her political games. In his mind, he is done with Kestrel and his sole priority is protecting his people. But no matter how much he tries to put Kestrel out of his mind, there is a part of him that refuses to let her go. Arin soon learns, that Kestrel never betrayed him and goes to rescue who from her prison, but what he finds is a shell of the women he loves.
Kestrel is no longer the women she once was and she must find out who she is and what her true destiny is. I love how Kestrel has little memory of her past and must forge who she is on her own terms. This also helps Kestrel and Arin have a fresh start. For all the hurt and pain they have caused each other, this allows them to start over to find a love that is pure and unblemished from the past.
A love, where they are honest with each, no more lies or secrets and instead work together to save Arin's people.
As Arin and Kestrel find their way back to each other, they also begin to find a way to beat a mighty empire. Not by matching might for might, but through wit and strategy. The finale was liking watching a chess game come to life and each move was made it kept you guessing on how this would end and who would survive.
Though tragedy continues in book three, I felt I could finally take a deep breath after the desolation I felt after book two. This action-packed conclusion was another great read by Ms. Rutkoski. I couldn't put the book down and found myself thinking of the characters long after I finished the book. This series is one of my favorites and I read a lot! This author is brilliant and the final scene was perfect!