By: Marie Rutkowski
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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?
This is the third and final book in The Winner’s Trilogy. I love these covers so much and I really enjoyed the first two books. I was very excited to read the final installment of the trilogy and tried not to have super high expectations.
What I thought
Let me start off by saying that I have issues with the final books of trilogies. I hated the final book of Hunger Games, was disappointed by the final book of Divergent and was annoyed by the final book in the Maze Runner. The only final book so far that I have felt was good was in The Selection (and that ended up having two more books so does that count?). I was a bit nervous to start this one and luckily, was not irritated, annoyed, or filled with hatred! Yay!
This third installment follows Kestrel after she has been betrayed by her father. In the last book, Kestrel had written a letter to Arin telling him that she was his spy inside the empire and that she loved him and would do anything for him. Her father found the letter and turned her into the emperor who sent her away. This book picks up with Kestrel entering the slave camp that she has been sent to for the rest of her life for her betrayal. On Arin’s side, he is fighting with the East as his allies against the Valorians. His heart is broken as Kestrel told him she didn’t care for him in order to protect him.
It took me a little while to get back into the story as I read the last book a year ago. I wish I had given more thought and re-read at least the second book, if not both books before this one came out. I think that I would’ve enjoyed it a little more, but overall it was a good ending to a trilogy.
I think my favorite part of this book was Roshar, the prince of the east. He was awesome. I loved his dry sense of humor and honesty. I think without him it would’ve been a bit boring. The book moved a bit slowly for my tastes, but it was still page turning. The majority of the book follows the characters as they prepare for the big battles and final war. It was a lot of planning and strategizing and not a lot of action. I also couldn’t quite decide how I felt about the change in Kestrel.
When Kestrel was in the camp, she was drugged twice a day; once in the morning with a drug that made her want to work and then at night with a drug to make her sleep without dreams. These drugs also turned her into a sort of zombie who couldn’t remember who she was or why she was at the camp. These side effects carried over to after she was out of the camp and that I the part I’m a little iffy about. Kestrel in this book is definitely different than she was in the last book. The biggest issues I have in trilogies is that the first two books seem to go together so well and then the third is like a completely different book. This book kind of straddles the line of being completely different. Luckily, I think it didn’t cross that line too much and I still felt like the heart of the book was the same.
By: Marie Rutkowski