The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format: 402 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
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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.
The Winner’s Crime was an incredible follow up to Winner’s Curse. That being said, I didn’t feel like it was as good as the first. When I first read TWC, it was exciting and it was like every other page there was a huge revelation or twist. Here, Rutkoski took her time to really explain things, which is fantastic but at some parts I felt like it slowed down the pace considerably. Other than that, the novel was fantastic! The plot was filled with so much angst and heartbreak. I was constantly in an emotional turmoil. It was literally never-ending … down to that last page. Seriously, I cannot stress the amount of unhappiness that this book has caused me. I cried within a couple of pages of starting. Like I said before, Rutkoski goes even more in-depth about the world in TWC and the politics. I still wish that we had a map to visualize the lands.
The writing was beautiful and really poetic, considering everything that was going on. It was the exact opposite of the events in the book. I feel like it improved so much more from the first book. There are new characters that were wonderfully written … even if I despised them. We get to see more of the emperor (why are they always evil?!?!) and Prince Verex. Naturally, I love him, though I wish that we had more scenes with him. We get the slight instances where we know he’s a good guy but we don’t fully know where he stands. I hope to see more of him in the next book. We also see some past characters like Jess, Ronan, and General Trajan.
The golden star, though, goes to Krestel — like it did in the first book. She is so cunning and strong. I wish that I was more like her! I felt like she had the short end of the stick in this book. Every bad thing happens to her! I was wondering when this girl was going to get a break. Oh my goodness. I really admire her character because no matter how many times she wanted to give in and tell Arin the truth, she stood her ground because of how much she loved him and wanted to protect him. Now with that out of the way, sometimes she could be so brainless haha. Did she really think that the emperor wouldn’t keep tabs on her?! Come on! Rookie move haha
Moving on to Arin. I love him so so much and this book is made to remind you that. He’s another strong character and I love Krestel and Arin’s relationship. They are perfect for each other! I was incredibly frustrated with Arin because I just wanted him to figure out the truth of what Krestel was doing! Of course he doesn’t have the ability to know what Krestel is thinking but he’s very good at reading her. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to everything when he finds out the truth because honestly, he has to find out eventually right?! RIGHT?!?
Memorable Moments: My favorite part has to be towards the end, in Krestel’s piano room. I was dying at that moment. I was crying and yelling and just down right freaking the heck out! If you’ve read it, you know which scene I’m talking about. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared and nervous while reading a book. I thought my brain was going to explode, I was screaming at Krestel and … the person who she was with. Ugh. This emotionally drained me. Good luck guys!