The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy, Book 2

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I really loved the first book and I was counting the days to finally have the chance to get my hands on this second novel. It must be said that the conclusion had left us with a taste of cliffhanger, oh yes, and a big one! So I was really looking forward to read more and discover the rest of the Arin and Kestrel’s story.

Our young heroine is in the middle of a golden cage she has forged herself, forced to lie to those around her and to try to create a semblance of a relationship with the prince who appreciates her even less. But this is not counting on the objectives of the emperor who is determined to discover what she hides and to shape her as he pleases so that she becomes an empress to his height. I admit that I’m still pretty confused about this character … We understand that he is trying to manipulate Krestel, but it is true that the purpose is unclear. Knowing whether it is to conform her to what he wants to or if he knows that she is hiding more than she says and therefore tries to discover the ins. Even after the end of the story, I do not really know what he wants exactly, or perhaps it is a mixture of both.

But keeping secrets is something very difficult, especially when we know that Krestel’s are also dangerous. And when Arin comes to the castle and that he is determined to discover the truth, it will be very difficult for our young heroine not to flinch. I admit that I was really sad in regard of the girl who finally has no one to whom she can confide to. Everyone leaves, even those who were there for her from the beginning. She tries to do the best, to protect Arin, protect her father, but is this all enough? I do not know whether to keep her secrets from Arin was really the right thing to do but I also think that she is right, that the boy could not have let her sacrifice herself for the good of all. However, it hurt me for her to see what the young man thought of her, and he does not hesitate to tell her in the face. This is also why Arin really pissed me off and I was quite tired of him in this volume. God, I wanted to shake him, to yell at him or even hit him sometimes. He does not think a minute to try to understand Krestel, he does not want to know why she acts like that. Oh no, it’s easy to think that she has manipulated him from the beginning or has changed since the last time he saw her. I was very angry with him, while he knows that something is wrong and that the truth appears to him, he capitulates quite soon to forget everything, to even think it could have been a possibility for it to be real. So yes, I did not think after the first novel that it could happen, but I struggled with Arin and I’m really really upset about him. About Krestrel as well because she makes some mistakes and we know where it will all end, but at the same time it is easier to understand her.

This volume is really good and I’ve read it all in a few hours. I could not let it go until the end and the history had carried me throughout the chapters. I needed to know what was going to happen next and it is true that the end came too quickly. Another cliffy elsewhere … I can not wait to see what will happen next because everything is still confusing regarding our heroes and I’m curious to see how they will get out of that again.



45 thoughts on “The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

  1. Loved The Winner’s Curse, and I can’t wait to delve into this, despite the fact that Arin apparently disappoints in it. But the opinions vary – so much in fact that I can’t wait to see for myself. Lovely review, Melliane.

  2. I’m so jealous right now and I literally scrolled to the bottom because I’m not even skimming reviews for this book. I want to go in blind like I did with the Winner’s Curse. And I’ve heard it’s a massive cliffhanger for book 2. I’m totally gonna read it but I don’t think I want to read it just yet because I’m totally going to re-read the WC or I just might wait to read it until the third book is released! GAH!!! See…I can barely type a coherent thought!!! I have such major book problems! *snorts*

    See i checked to see who wrote this post this time *wink* *wink* LOL
    Anyways, i’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this one! i love everything you have to say about it and i’m happy to report that i loved this one too! I’m sure we’ll love bok three as well but i’m worried about what we’re going to do until then…we have a long wait!

  4. Fans ate.loving this sequel! I wasn’t interested because of the cover arts
    It looks so YA with the girls wearing ball gowns. Obviously I misjudged

  5. Awww, Melliane! I think the fact that Arin frustrated you was a good thing, because it really showed that you cared for the characters and you really wanted what was best for them. I love reads that make you feel so engaged and pumped up! I really need to finish this one soon.

    Faye at The Social Potato

  6. Oooo. This is a new series to me. How did I miss the review of the first? I’ll have to go look at it too. 🙂 Thank you!

  7. RIGHT? I mean, I get why Kestrel had to hide things and be secretive, but both of them frustrated me so much in this one, haha. Maybe in both good and bad ways? Because I still love them, and THIS BOOK. UGH. I freaking adored it. AND THAT ENDING.

  8. I’ve been meaning to read Winner’s Curse. Thanks for the tip about the cliffhangers. I understand about Arin not trying to understand her. I recently had the same problem with the love interest in The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

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