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Review by Emily:
When I read the first book in the series The Winner’s Curse over the summer, I really enjoyed it. It was just like Cover Girl: Easy and Breezy. The writing flowed well and I found it a really enjoyable read. It was not that deep or thought-provoking (in fact, if I thought too much about it, it lost a lot of its appeal because of how politically incorrect it is in a lot of ways), but it was a nice summer read.
I read the second book on audiobook a few weeks ago and it was a little bit of a struggle to get through. I found it really slow and boring and I didn’t feel that connected to any of the characters. Even though I didn’t love it, I felt like I had come this far in the series, so I might as well finish the last book and round out the series, which brings me to The Winner’s Kiss.
The start of this novel was promising. I felt like Kestrel gained some depth and there was a lot happening as she fought to get back from the prison camp she was in and then to rediscover who she is after she lost her memory, which kept me engaged. With such a promising start, I had hoped that the third novel would end up being the best of the three. About half-way through the book, however, my opinions started shifting quickly and rapidly. The promising start gave way to repetitive cliches and I started to really dislike Arin. He was way too controlling and it was clear that he didn’t look at Kestrel as his military equal. This was all excused as “him being so in love with her”, but really it was just annoying. From the first novel, Kestrel has been developed as this character who does not have the physical strength of a soldier, but an incredible intellect and talent for military planning. Yet, every time she has an idea in this book, Arin is right there tearing it down and trying to stop her in case she comes in harms way, while he is out constantly risking his own life. As a proud, strong woman, I did not find this romantic or endearing.
By three-quarters way through this book, I was desperately waiting for the end to come and it could not come soon enough. I had lost all interest (and in some cases, respect) for the characters and the plot (which was about as generic as the characters and the romance).