The Winner's Trilogy
I've decided to put all three books into one BOOK TALK so, all three books are reviewed and discussed in this post.
I liked this much more than I thought I would. I loved the themes of betrayal, lies and politics. It had a bit of romance blended into the story but I don't think that it was the main aim in the book. It was intriguing and great to delve into.
This book follows two people from completely different backgrounds; Kestrel- a Valorian and daughter of General Trajan. She's well-off, strong-minded and a strategist of the highest level.
Arin- a Herrani slave, enemy of Valorians and desperate to turn the tables.
One day, at an auction, Kestrel buys Arin and that's where their journey begins...
The Winner's Curse
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This book was really good! I found it a tad slow to begin with but, once I got into it, I raced through the last hundred pages. I couldn't put it down!
One thing I loved about this book was the intricate lies, secrets and manipulations. It was all every clever and I love reading things like this. All the characters- Kestrel and Arin especially- had their pokerfaces on and I love the science behind reading people's slight actions to tell what they are thinking. The Winner's Curse had an abundance of this and it was all intertwined effortlessly.
Kestrel was someone that I easily aspire to be like. There were times when I did think she acted a bit arrogant of her position but mostly, I admired her intelligence. She thought through everything and her strategist mind impressed me so much. She may not be a strong heroine physically but mentally she outdoes them all.
Arin was a likeable character from the beginning even thought he wasn't the most...charismatic, shall we say. He definitely grew into himself and I'm excited to see how he develops in future books.
I loved all the twists and turns in this book and the aspect of music was really interesting. It made this fantasy world seem much more relatable.
This ending was so well thought out and I'm itching to get to the next instalment in this series!
The Winner's Crime
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This book had to be my favourite of the series despite there not being any Kestrel/Arin cutsie moments (were there any?).
The engagement dominated this book and I found it so gripping! Finding out what it was like in the palace was so cool and I loved all the balls and parties. It was all very dramatic!
Even though I hated the idea of Kestrel marrying anyone but Arin, I liked Verex. It wasn't his fault and he was such a sweetheart- I couldn't help but like him.
I hated and loved the Emperor at the same time. I hated him because...well, he's the villain. He's not a nice guy- not warm and fuzzy by any means. But I thought he was really entertaining and his smugness and trickery drew me in from the get go.
Jess showed up a few times in this book but I've lost any love that I had for her. It's not that she's done anything majorly wrong but I've just gone off her. She seemed a bit closed off, distant and sketchy- I just don't trust her anymore.
The Tensen and The Moth plot was clever and cool but so frustrating because Arin didn't know!!!
This book had about a million moments that were full of frustration and hopelessness. Arin and Kestrel kept missing each other! There was always something in the way of them being together and it was painful!! The lies they kept were so heart-wrenching to read about and my hope for their relationship was sputtering and dying quickly.
When Arin came to Kestrel's music room and her father was watching!! It was so suspenseful! And when she tried to write Arin a note to say that her father was there!!! It was a very painful scene to read just because it was so brilliantly heart shattering.
The letter that Kestrel wrote to Arin was a nice gesture but... Kestrel, I didn't think you were stupid! Anyone could get hold of that! What did she think would happen!
The cliff-hanger was so good in this book and I couldn't wait to rip into the next book (not literally, of course).
A great sequel- even better the first.
The Winner's Kiss
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Overall, this book was okay but it wasn't my favourite of the series. I preferred the second half considerably more than the first because the tension and plot was more fast-paced and gripping.
One major thing I didn't like about this book was Kestrel's memory loss. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I HATE WHEN THIS PLOT TWIST HAPPENS! I don't know why so many authors add in this plot twist! It makes the story go so slowly because we're relearning everything we already know along with Kestrel. This plot twist makes everything seem slow and boring because, as Kestrel's re-learning what had happened to her, we're getting no new information and action. It makes the book lag so much and this trilogy really didn't need it!
Having said that, I understand how this twist allowed Kestrel to grow as a person and develop as a character.
Rashar was a nice character and I really grew to appreciate how his humour softened all the action and tension throughout the book. He wasn't an amazing 'Oh, I love him so much' character for me but I enjoyed a few of his quick quips. (Plus, his tiger, Arin, sounded cute).
I loved how this book wrapped up! It wasn't so much as the final battle that pulled me in but the Bite and Sting game between Kestrel and the emperor. The Bite and Sting game has been played since the very beginning so I feel like it had a nice symmetry to end it with this. It was a suspenseful edge-of-your-seat ending and I liked how this wrapped the whole battle up.
And, of course, we had a nice happy ending to finish off with! Arin and Kestrel were obviously going to get together and I liked how the last scene was them playing music together. Music is such an important part of their identities and it seemed fitting that they share it with each other by the end.
Overall, this trilogy was a great read and I'm so glad I picked them up. The themes of betrayal, gambling and lies gripped me from the beginning and really shone throughout the series. A lovely fantasy read that had me turning the page like my life depended on it!
Thanks for reading my BOOK TALK! What were your thoughts? Comment below! See you soon,