Parents' Guide to

The Winner's Kiss: The Winner's Trilogy, Book 3

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Winning trilogy ends on a more mature note.

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Fans of the series will all-out devour the nail-biting jailbreak opener and the twisty climax of this finale; the middle takes a bit more patience. Rutkoski's writing is lovely, full of thoughtful imagery and depth. It's usually an asset, but as Kestrel grapples with her hazy memory after the prison drugs and Arin tries to bring her back to herself, there's so much to ponder. Who is she now? Does Arin love her out of guilt? Could she just use him to help her remember who she was before? Does she want to be that person again? It feels as hazy for the reader as it does for Kestrel, and the author's beautiful prose loses its impact.

Luckily, as soon as the characters set up camp for battle, the pace builds again -- and Kestrel magically finds her mojo again. That requisite "all hope is lost" moment in every underdog battle really feels that way in THE WINNER'S KISS, making the ending all that more surprising and satisfying.

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