The Winner's Kiss
by Marie Rutkoski
I'm actually not going to write a full review of the book, because most of what I'd like to talk about would contain spoilers, so I'm just going to say this -- I loved it.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?
It was an excellent end to the trilogy, it had just the right balance of happy and sad. The pacing of the plot wasn't perfect, sometimes it went too fast, sometimes too slow but that didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the book.
And the characters? I still loved the characters, particularly getting to see more of Roshar, he's one of my favourites. I thought Kestrels character development in this one was great too, she was always so conflicted in the other books between being who she is and being who other people want her to be, but in this one she's so unapologetically herself and I loved that.
I'd rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5, it definitely lived up to the high expectations set by the previous books.
Fancast & Playlist
Now, as part of the UK/Australia blog tour for the book, I'm going to do a fancast and playlist for the book.
Description: I think her hair was described as being long and blonde/strawberry blonde? Usually worn braided. Fair skin which freckles a bit in the sun. Brown eyes.
With Ginny and Florence, it's based just on how they look because I've not seen much of their acting, but Skyler is based on the description and her acting.
Alternatives: Lily James, Dove Cameron
Description: I don't remember too much about his description. Dark hair (brown or black, I can't remember). Skin darker than Kestrel's, darkened more because of time spent in the sun (but a different race than the Dacran people). Gray eyes.
I really wasn't sure which race to picture Arin, because the Herrani are a different race to both the Dacran people and the Valorian's. Avan and Luke are probably closest to how I pictured him while reading though.
Alternatives: ...Zayn Malik? *shrug* Purely based on physical appearance.
Sarsine & Verex
Inisha, Roshar, & Risha
The reason I have two choices for each is because I couldn't choose between Kiersey and Lupita, so I chose Kenyan actors to go with my Lupita choice (I'm indecisive, is what I'm trying to say, and I adore all six of these actors).
Alternatives: I also like John Boyega or Alfred Enoch for Roshar.
I also made a playlist for the books. It's kind of an odd mix, but I was going for lyrics that sort of matched up rather than sound/tone...
1. Bloodsport by Raleigh Ritchie
"Although you love me, sometimes we're mean
Things can get ugly, but we're still a team"
2. Love Song by Caveboy
"Lookin' for the strength to get us from our knees,
Is the desert ever goin' to let us be,
Can you save me"
3. The Cave by Mumford & Sons
"‘Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again"
4. Soldier by Ingrid Michaelson
"I don't believe in anything but myself
But then you opened up a door, you opened up a door
Now I start to believe in something else
And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won"
5. Thousand Eyes by Of Monsters and Men
"I lie awake and watch it all
It feels like thousand eyes
I am the storm"
6. I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi
7. Scars by James Bay
"We live through scars this time
But I've made up my mind
No, we can't leave us behind anymore
We'll have to hurt for now
But next time, there's no doubt
'Cause I can't go without you anymore"
8. All The Things Lost by MS MR
"Treasured moments become lost treasures when you can't recollect"
9. Hurricane by 30 Seconds to Mars
"Tell me would you kill to save a life?"
10. Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons
"I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
I'm bleeding out
I'm bleeding out for you"
11. Like I'm Gonna Lose You by Jasmine Thompson
"We're not promised tomorrow
So I'm gonna love you
Like I'm gonna lose you
I'm gonna hold you
Like I'm saying goodbye wherever we're standing"
12. Russian Roulette by Rihanna
"I get a scary thought
That he's here - means he's never lost"
13. I Will Love You by Gin Wigmore
"I will love you
Until the blood all leaves these veins
Don't you let us,
Lose to an early grave
Give me a lifetime
And then fifty more to find the words
That will never explain
How I need you"
Anyway... If you haven't checked out the series yet, I really recommend it, I adore it.