The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

20443235Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #3

With every book this trilogy improved greatly. This book was just about perfect. I really can’t think of anything wrong with it or anything I wish had been done differently. This book had it all: good character development, lots of action, bravery, characters with morals, and mature romance that did not dominate the plot. Women were not depicted as weak or incapable. I loved seeing the women on equal ground with men, and best of all the men didn’t have a problem with it.

More female characters should be like Kestrel. In my experience maturity is a rare trait especially in YA. She stood up for what she believed in no matter what the cost, and I love her all the more for it. Kestrel is the kind of person people should aspire to be. Physical strength and battle skills were not her strong suit. She often relied on her intelligence. Most of the time she saved herself. She did not expect men to save her or fix all of her problems. In spite of everything she had been through she wasn’t filled with hate.

Arin is just about the perfect guy. He would do anything for the woman he loved including allowing her to make her own decisions even when he didn’t agree with them. Although kind and gentle, he would kill without regret when necessary. He was incredibly strong yet vulnerable. Revenge wasn’t the driving force behind his actions. It did factor into his decisions, but mainly the goal was to get back what rightly belonged to the Herrani.

Many of the side characters were in this, and their fates were explained. At times it was hard to tell if they were on Arin and Kestrel’s side or not. I’m amazed at how good this was. It’s YA. I expected it to be awful or cheesy, and it wasn’t. I would love YA if it were all written like this.

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