Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Starus Giroux
Publication Date: March 2, 2015
Format: Paperback 

Page Count: 416


Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

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. (taken from

So, I really enjoyed The Winner's Curse, but I wouldn't say that I fell in love with Kestrel or the other characters. The romance between Kestrel and Arin hadn't really won me over, and I kind of wished the action had moved a little quicker. Well, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed The Winner's Crime so much more. The suspense, passion, characters, and pretty much every other aspect of Rutkoski's story is amped up in this heart-pounding sequel

The plot seems much more developed than in the prior novel. Every chapter holds a new development and nail-biting tension. Kestrel is constantly torn between doing what she hopes is right and giving into the intense temptations Arin presents. Ironically enough, I've read some reviews who felt this second book was actually more boring than the first. I completely disagree. Sure, maybe there aren't many real battles or dramatic chases, but Rutkoski packs in loads of political and relational drama, from Kestrel's daring interactions with the emperor to Herrani's delicate state of semi-freedom. 

Arin and Kestrel have been torn apart by circumstance, and the pain both of them feel is gut-wrenching. Seriously, I turned every page hoping, praying that the two of them would understand each other and mend their hearts. I don't want to give any spoilers away, but let's just say that I was flipping pages faster and faster as I neared the end of the book. I couldn't get enough of the two characters, and their complicated love story won me over heart and soul. 

I noticed smaller details of Rutkoski's writing this time around. She's a gift writer, especially when it comes to explaining the twisted thoughts swirling around in Kestrel and Arin's heads. It was interesting to see her develop Valoria, as well as the Eastern kingdom and people. I'm hoping that the next novel will hold even more original places and characters. 

Overall, The Winner's Crime kicked butt in my book. Kestrel is a strong character, and I really found myself rooting for her as she faced the enormous odds stacked against her. The political intrigue continuously grew in intensity, and I can't even imagine what The Winner's Kiss will entail. Definitely check out this series if you haven't already, but be warned: Rutkoski won't go easy on your heart, and she's definitely not afraid of cliffhangers. 

Thank god I jumped on this bandwagon late and the third book has already been published. 
How did all of you early readers survive??