The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Publication date: March 12th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)
Number of pages: 368
Series: The Winner's Trilogy (2#)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.
Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...
While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.
Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner'strilogy.
There may be spoilers for the previous book...
Clever, dazzling and intricately woven, Marie Rutkoski stuns again with The Winner's Crime. Now, Kestrel has to tread more carefully than ever.
The first and foremost thing I love about these books is Kestrel. She's witty, brave and generally quite awesome. I love the way that she doesn't have to be a supreme physical fighter to kick butt, but rather she wields her skill with strategising and her intelligence. It's pretty great that she can still be such a strong heroine while not being a Katniss (The Hunger Games) or Tris (Divergent) in the way that there is less emphasis on physical fighting. Not that emphasis on physical fighting is a bad thing, I'm just saying that I like that it's something a little different for me.
I'm guessing that if you read the above paragraph you won't be very surprised that I preferred the parts of the text that were centered around Kestel (or Kestrel and Arin) rather than just Arin. Even in the last book I wasn't a major supporter of Team Arin. He just falls kind of flat for me and I don't a) find him particularly interesting, or b) like him that much. I find that he can be a little bit too moody and he just doesn't really jump out at me.
I love the game that the characters are playing. The book so wonderfully shows the consequences of the actions of the characters and it's all so carefully and cleverly plotted. It's just so unpredictable that you really don't know what move the characters are going to play next and what's going to happen. And yet I feel like I know the characters so well.
...And I'm about to contradict myself. I did see the ending coming. But I didn't mind so much because I was unsure and it did still hit pretty hard. One scene in particular towards the end between Kestrel and another character was really painful.
But enough about the sad scenes - because PUPPY! If there is a cute puppy in any book then I can just about promise you that I will love the book. Dogs are the best thing ever (sorry cat lovers) and they are the most cutest, loyalist creatures. AND PUPPIES ARE ADORABLE.
These books have made me really interested in playing the game Kestrel plays in the book: Bite & Sting. It sounds so cool and I'd love to know what it's based off. So if you know...please do share.
I did feel very sorry for Verex though. To be honest I wouldn't even have minded if Kestrel's love switched to Verex rather than Arin. And I could not stand Jess in this book. I don't really sympathise with her whatsoever.
All in all, I thought that this was a stunning sequel that actually surpassed The Winner's Curse in my opinion. If you loved the first book, you will love this one.
4.5/5 comets KABOOM!
That only leaves one continent (one little flaw).
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Goodreads author bio:
Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.
Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.