Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)
by Marie Rutkoski
Hardcover, 484 pages
Release Date: March 29th, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: YA Fantasy
Buy a Copy: 
      Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Goodreads Summary: Some kisses come at a price.

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?

Cindy's Review: 
The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski is the final novel in the Winner’s Trilogy. Often, final books are often difficult to satisfy readers’ high expectations, but Rutkoski concludes this series perfectly filled with exhilarating battles.

At the start, readers immediately dive into a conflict filled with high tension. Protagonist Kestrel is the daughter of General Trajan, who serves the ruler of the Valorian Empire. She chooses to marry the Crown Prince in the previous novel so she can help Arin, a Herrani slave, save his territory. However, when Kestrel is discovered spying for the Herrani, her own father sends her to frozen prison camps in the North, where slave laborers are forced to work under the influence of drugs.

Meanwhile, Arin takes Kestrel’s cold attitude towards him as Kestrel’s selfish desire for power. Little did he know, Kestrel is The Moth, a spy within the Valorian Empire who secretly delivers information to Arin’s spymaster.
The Valorian Empire captured the Herran peninsula years earlier and enslaved the Herranis. After the Herranis’ successful rebellion against the Valorian Empire, Arin is now the leader of the people. The emperor of Valoria agrees to allow Arin to govern Herran under the condition that he reports back to Valoria. Unknown to Arin, the emperor’s generosity is fabricated by Kestrel.

Despite the agreement between Valoria and Herran, suspicion continues to grow and war continues to brew. Arin creates an alliance with the eastern empires while the crafty Valorian emperor poisons the Herranis’ water supply. As the tension between the eastern and western empires increase, Kestrel tries to stay sane despite her drugged food while Arin slowly discovers the true identity of his enemy.

Though the Winner’s trilogy starts off rather romantic and tame, it builds the setting for its sequels. If you are looking for a cleverly crafted high fantasy novel, take a plunge into Rutkoski’s action-packed series filled with revenge, deceits, and betrayal.
The Rating: (1-10): 10~

Happy Reading~ 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Book Review: Banished (Forbidden #2) by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Banished (Forbidden, #2)Banished (Forbidden #2) 
by  Kimberley Griffiths Little 
eBook, 416 pages
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Harpercollins
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance
Buy a Copy: 
       Amazon | B&N 

Goodreads Summary: She thought she’d lost everything…

After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.

But the trek to Sariba comes with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her…secrets that will change everything.

This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden is fraught with love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.

Cindy's Review:
Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little is the second book of the Forbidden series. Picking up right after the first novel, Jayden of the Nephish tribe crosses the harsh Mesopotamian desert alone to find her lover Kadesh.

The violent and unpredictable King of Nephish, Horeb, attempted to kill Kadesh and is now hunting Jayden across the desert. Horeb is originally Jayden’s betrothed, but she did not want to rule alongside a psycho who killed his own father and brother for the throne.Now an outcast for attempting to elope with Kadesh to the kingdom of Sariba, Jayden must quickly find Kadesh and reach the safety of Sariba without being mauled by Horeb’s growing army.

Receiving help from the Edomites tribe, Jayden and Kadesh race against time to reach Sariba before getting caught by Horeb’s army. Unfortunately, Horeb seems to be crossing the desert with a lot more ease than anticipated. For someone who is not familiar with the harsh environment of the current day Saudi Arabian desert, Horeb must have been receiving help from a spy within Jayden’s group.

To make matters worse, Kadesh is holding back information from Jayden about his homeland, Sariba. It seems that Sariba is dealing with interior complications as well. As Jayden and Kadesh rush southwards along the Red Sea, readers experience the dry desert under the relentless sun and whooshing winds alongside the protagonists.

Compared with Forbidden, Banished is the action and the battles while Forbidden is like the introduction and the background information. Ms. Kimberley continues to take readers along with the protagonists' adventure through the desert. Sariba felt like a faraway safe haven. I am imagining a secret island full of cherry blossoms (the frankincense trees) and a pond, hidden behind the mountains, protected by nature. 

Though the ending marked the actual beginning of battles, I was still oddly satisfied of being able to see Kadesh's homeland and learning its secret. I absolutely cannot wait for the final book in the trilogy to see what is in store for Jayden's future.

I recommend this novel to readers who like historical fiction full of suspense and mystery. 

**Huge thanks to Dena from Batch of Books for giving me the opportunity to review Banished**

The Rating: (1-10): 8.5~

Happy Reading ~