Review: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy, #3)

Do you ever just really enjoy a series and then get to the last book and it’s the biggest letdown ever? Yeah, me too! And that’s exactly what happened with The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy, #3) by Mary E. Pearson.

Some kisses come at a price.

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?

The Good

  • There was finally some real fighting going on! I mean, this war has been on the brink since book one and we finally get to it. Took long enough…
  • It ended. Yeah, I was just happy for the story to end as I just didn’t care enough about it anymore.


The Bad

  • The romance! What started out as really interesting and classic will-they-won’t-they, turned into some extreme weak crap. Arin and Kestrel didn’t even seem like they were in love, more like they were just thrown together due to the circumstances.
  • Kestrel’s “situation” – I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but if you have then you know what I’m talking about. Because of this new problem, Kestrel turned into this codependent, mopey, whiner. For a character that I had spent the whole series loving, I spent the book hoping for her to die. Pearson, you missed a perfectly good chance to pull a George R.R. Martin here.
  • The war… Yes, it was good in that there actually was one to throw in some suspense and action. But it was AWFUL in that the actual battle scenes were boring. I live for a good battle scene where you never know what will happen next and are on the edge of your seat. However, this wasn’t one of those.
  • Here’s what it boils down to – this book was a snoozefest. I don’t really understand how you can finish a decent trilogy with such a terrible ending. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the tension? Where’s the incredible character development? GONE!!!

Basically, I was extremely disappointed with how this book ended. Unfortunately, this one just didn’t match the previous two in quality. I do know it received great reviews on Goodreads, so maybe it’s just me. I probably should’ve given it 1 star, but I was able to finish it so I’m being a bit more lenient than normal.

Final Verdict: 2/5 Stars

Have you read The Winner’s Kiss? What are your thoughts on how this trilogy ended? Did it live up to your expectations?