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.