The Winner’s Kiss is the third and final book in the Winner’s Trilogy written by Marie Rutkoski. It continues the story of Kestrel and Arin, two characters from different worlds who are caught in a web of political intrigue, war, and forbidden love.
The book picks up where the second installment, The Winner’s Crime, left off. Kestrel has been captured by the Valorian emperor, while Arin is leading the Herrani rebellion against Valoria. Both characters are faced with difficult choices and must navigate a dangerous landscape to protect their loved ones and achieve their goals.
In The Winner’s Kiss, Kestrel is imprisoned in a work camp, where she endures harsh conditions and physical abuse. She struggles to maintain her strength and sanity while plotting her escape. Meanwhile, Arin is determined to rescue Kestrel and bring an end to the Valorian rule. He faces challenges of his own as he tries to unite the Herrani people and lead them to victory.
Throughout the book, Kestrel and Arin’s paths cross intermittently as they fight for their respective causes. Their love for each other remains strong, but it is tested by the circumstances they find themselves in. They must confront their own fears, doubts, and insecurities as they strive to find a way back to each other.
The Winner’s Kiss delves deeper into the political landscape of the world Rutkoski has created. It explores themes of power, loyalty, sacrifice, and the consequences of war. The story is filled with twists and turns, betrayals and alliances, making it a gripping read from start to finish.
As the climax approaches, Kestrel and Arin must make difficult choices that will shape not only their own futures but also the fate of their people. The book culminates in a thrilling battle that will determine the outcome of the war between Valoria and Herran.
The war has begun. Arin is facing new, unreliable allies and counting on his enemies. Even though he has revealed that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin has not forgotten her, or how she became the kind of person he always had sex with. She cared more about the empire than the lives of innocent people – and certainly more than what she had done for him.
At least, that’s what he thought.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prison within a brutally violent camp. As she desperately tries to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wished she could make the empire pay for what they did 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 read the strength of the West and they were caught in the middle. With so much to lose, can anyone really win?
The heartbreaking ending of The Winner’s Trilogy begins with Kestrel trying to find a way out of prison due to her betrayal being discovered and quickly punished by her father. Arin begins to fight after receiving help from Queen Dacran. Kestrel tries to escape a few times, but after being harshly punished and given various drugs, she loses the will to fight and begins to forget who she is. Arin focuses on simply not feeling and throwing herself into the fight to cope. Dacrans and Herrans were clearly outnumbered, outnumbered and unable to maneuver plus his Moth spy was gone. Will Kestrel and Arin meet again? Can Herrans and Dacran team up and overthrow the Valerians?
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