The Winner’s Kiss Review

**Minor to Major Spoilers**

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Title: The Winner’s Kiss

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy

Number in Series: 3

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Flap copy: “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?”

I actually read this a while ago, but just was too busy to write a post.

Anyways, you all know, KNOW, how much I love this series. This last book was so good, until the ending. If you don’t have the time to reread the first two books, don’t worry; through a plot devious, Rutoski actually made it okay not to remember that much.

I do love how Arin gets more time in the book. I remember reading, not sure where, that Rutoski deliberately made Arin have more page time as a way to show that since he was free, that balance of power is now shared between him in Kestrel. That woman is brilliant!

My only complaint was how quickly the ending wrapped up. A lot of people read this book differently, but for me it was always a complex romance series, so I was really disappointed that the ending of the book felt rushed and hurried.

I love this series and will probably try to convince my mom to read it, so if that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what will. Read this series!!!

Don’t Change The Cover: An Examination of the Power of Readers

Where were you when the cover of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss was revealed? If you were like me, you were angrily venting at Fierce Reads, the social media arm of Macmillan.

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Old Cover
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Proposed New Cover

Why do publishers do this? Why do they change book covers of a series when the cover is something all the fans love? I’ve gone over this before from a professional stance so I won’t go over here.

What I will talk about is the backlash that happened. Yes, I angrily vented. I did not however, threaten to not buy the book or slam the author. The author has NO control over the cover unless it is in their contract, and it rarely is. And if (hypothetically) a seller tells the house to change the cover or they won’t take, the publishing house changes the cover.

I have had so many series that changed the look of a series mid way through. And it SUCKS when you were a fan from day one and the publisher does this. It can feel like the publisher is devaluing you, the first readers who helped spread the word, in order to make money on those that haven’t picked up the series.

But the fans had a win with their outrage. Fierce Reads announced that the hardcover would be the old covers, in order to match the rest of the trilogy and the paperbacks would be repackaged with the new cover.

So YAY for the YA community for the win, but BOO on those that made Marie feel so bad about this whole thing.

titus

Worth noting: if publishers had tons of money, I would have suggested printing the original cover on the back of the new redesign and then the reader could pick which cover you wanted to showcase. But publishers don’t have that kind of money.

My 2016 Most Anticipated Books, Part 1

Hi, everyone! It’s been a long time, but I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth…yet.  Life is going well, but it is time to start thing about the future! The 2016 reading future!  So without further ado: my anticipated reads for 2016.

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

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You know I am gaga for anything with princes in contemporary fiction. Look at my review of The Royal We if you need a reminder. This book is right up my ally. From Amazon: “Going all the way to England for college–to Oxford, no less–for college would be exciting enough. But no sooner does Evie set foot on English soil than she falls for a boy who turns out to be a real prince–in fact, second in line to the throne of England. Edmund is wonderful, even though loving him can be a royal pain, from the demands of his family to the stuck-up aristocrat who thinks she should be the one to win Edmund’s heart. All that is swept aside, however, when the riddle of Evie’s past surfaces, and the new couple becomes obsessed with figuring out who the real Evie is, with the growing suspicion that the truth will be a shocker.”

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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This book can go one of two ways: really great or really bad. I am curious how the author will handle such a sensitive subject. From Amazon:

“10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.”

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

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Assassins! Need I say more? From Amazon:

“Seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana is a trained assassin. She was born into one of the nine clipper Families in the kingdom of Lovero who lawfully take lives for a price. As a member of the highest-ranking clan, loyalty to Family is valued above all, but that doesn’t stop Lea from getting into a secret relationship with Val Da Via, a boy from a rival clan. Despite her better judgment, Lea has fallen in love with him; but she’s confident she can anticipate any threat a mile away.

Then she awakens one night to a house full of smoke. Although she narrowly escapes, she isn’t able to save her Family as their home is consumed by flames. With horror, she realizes that Val and his Family are the only ones who could be responsible. Devastated over his betrayal and the loss of her clan, there’s just one thing on her mind: making the Da Vias pay. The heart of this assassin craves revenge.”

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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AHHHHHHH!!! You know how I feel. You KNOW how I feel! This is my one of my most highly anticipated books. From Amazon:

“War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people-and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?”

The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

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The first book was beautiful. I am ready to revisit this word. It was complex and compelling. From Amazon: “In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.”

There are many others, but that would make for a giant post. Just know that 2016 is going to be awesome!