I’d like to be different from everyone who’s already said this and NOT say that the end of The Winner’s Crime destroyed me but I’d be totally lying. That ending was brutal! More brutal than The Winner’s Curse! SO much more brutal. But I hope this doesn’t discourage you from reading this sequel because it’s all about the journey! And the journey hurts, but I believe it’ll pay off in the end.
The Winner’s Crime picks up soon after the ending of The Winner’s Curse, and of course, nothing is really perfect. It’s definitely in a more delicate state, as is the “relationship” between Arin and Kestrel. Their relationship is certainly strained and broken throughout the whole book. It was painful to see these two characters hurt so much. And Arin really had it bad. He was so lost and confused and just plain ol’ angry. And those moments where Kestrel dreams him really tore my heart open. “Don’t wake up.” GAH!
There’s a lot of spying and scheming in this book. Kestrel is still helping the Herrani people and it’s a complete nail-biter because if she gets caught, who knows what the Valorian people will do to her. It’s all high stakes!! Which is the reason why the end completely gutted me.
I loved how Marie Rutkoski expanded on the world in this book. We get to see Valoria and the lands in the East. Arin spends some time in the East where he made some friends, but not so easy. He also invents a thing! A HUGE thing! That was surprising and unexpected.
I’m really intrigued by some of the secondary characters, specifically the ones at court who appear to be friends to Kestrel. I really want to know what their endgame, if any, will be. At this point, I can’t really trust anyone though. At the same time, it was really sad to see other characters from the first book completely hating Kestrel.
The Winner’s Crime is full of intrigue, high stakes, longing, and heartbreak. But there were some glimpses of hope! I’m sure the next book will bring more good times. :)
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux BfYR
Pub Date: March 3rd 2015
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.