Written by: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: Fantasy, romance, young adult
Pages: 280 pages, ebook
Buy: The Winner’s Crime- Amazon
Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust … While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.
Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.
Prepare your hearts because you’re in for some heartbreak!
Book 2 of the Winner’s trilogy was everything i was hoping for and more. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong about the synopsis making the plot of Winner’s Crime predictable. I was expecting Kestrel and Arin to have a secret affair but what happens is quite the opposite, they barely even have any encounters; let alone romantic meetings. Although I missed the romance between them, there was still a noticeable spark of passion between the two.
I loved how it alternated POV between Arin and Kestrel, even though it did that in the first book it seemed more in depth on Arin’s part this time and I felt I could understand his character a little bit more. We get to experience his frustration and confusion with Kestrel because i’m sure other readers, like me just wanted to reach into the book and bang their heads together! There is so much deception, guilt, despair, and way too many lies. They are both equal in betrayal but can’t help their feelings for each other and through their cunning plans they still protect each other.They are so well-matched–they both sacrifice for their countries, and they hold their honor dearly.
Kestrel is in a very tricky position in Winner’s Crime, (I will try my best to talk about this without revealing spoilers) her loyalty is constantly tested by her future father-in law, her betrothed doesn’t want to marry her (I am liking this character though) and she is trying to do the right thing but what is right in her fathers and the emperor’s eyes has consequences. The politician and patriot inside of her wants to support the empire, even at all costs, and the loving daughter inside of her wants to prove her military worth to her father. She must face the consequences for the secrets she keeps and the decisions she makes. Despite her trying to convince herself that she was doing what was right and not directly harming anyone, Arin causes her to question her motives. (sorry if this doesn’t make much sense, it’s so difficult to not give the plot away!)
I don’t know about you guys but this map definitely made it easier for me to envision this wonderful world that Marie Rutkoski has created. It was very necessary for this book because Arin travels between Herran, Valoria and Dacra. It’s a beautiful map but i’ll admit I don’t understand the insect/animals in the corners?
The ending of this book is was truly heart- wrenching, it is as far as betrayal goes and you feel Kestrel’s pain. Then we are left with a cliffhanger, of course.
5 stars from me again, Marie Rutkoski never disappoints.
The Winner’s Kiss is expected to be published March 1st 2016. So far away! *cries*