After ten years of slavery, Arin knew obedience in its many forms. The fear of pain, the gritty promise to oneself of vengeance. Hopelessness. A grinding monotony broken just often enough by the strap or fist.
The sulphur mines do not treat Kestrel well and the prisoners are drugged to keep them working and preventing any kind of rebellion or escape. She believes she is stronger than that, but as the days go by, her freedom seems to be slipping further from her reach. Arin is still under the presumption that Kestrel doesn’t care about him or his people’s plight, which might feel like it’s been going on too long. But it’s OK, remember that guy Kestrel gave the moth to? He does appear and we don’t have to spend the whole book willing Arin to see the light. Phew!
What happens to Kestrel in the work camp gives her and Arin a second chance, wipes the slate clean. They can get to know each other on what seems a much more equal footing. In The Winner’s Curse, Kestral was master and in The Winner’s Crime, Arin was captor, neither a particularly healthy dynamic for a romantic relationship. Here, they are two soldiers, two people desperate to free the country they both feel is theirs.
She doesn't even know who she is anymore. How can she find out if she's never alone with herself?
There’s a lot of tactical manoeuvring and if I’m honest, I felt the book was a little slow in places. However, Kestrel’s strategic qualities are part of what sets this story apart. She is not just a noble woman with a heart, she is the general’s daughter with a great military mind. She’s an asset to the rebellion.
As their tale comes to an end, we’re left with some unexpected friendships and a few tender moments in the face of war.
The Winner's Kiss is published by Bloomsbury and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review. Follow the rest of the blog tour with #TheWinnersKiss hashtag.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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