Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Author: Marie Rutkoski (@marierutkoski)
Published: March 3rd, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Genre: YA fantasy
POV: 3rd person, dual
Pages: 416
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux BYR
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
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.

Separated by one fateful decision in The Winner's Curse, Kestrel and Arin find themselves on different sides. Kestrel is playing a dangerous game of words, actions, and politics, trying to keep the Emperor pleased while secretly doing anything she can to help the people of Herran. Arin, meanwhile, is thrust into an unwanted position of power, and he'll have to go to great lengths to earn a true freedom for Herran. Family, honor, love, and sacrifice, The Winner's Crime is an outstanding sequel. 

Secrets, lies, deceit, and danger linger in every corner of Kestrel and Arin's lives. Rutkoski builds the emotions of the story, starting with a simple, slow flow until everything comes crashing down with intensity. She makes you care for these characters, and every page will leave you with the desire to keep reading on. Well-paced, and thoroughly captivating, Rutkoski raises the stakes with The Winner's Crimeand refuses to give her characters (and readers) a moment to rest. Exciting, shocking, and simply incredible, this trilogy needs to be on your to-read list. 

Highlights: Rutkoski develops the world of this trilogy further, revealing fascinatingly unique locations and expanding on myth and history of each one. But even better, Kestrel and Arin begin to take more action - whether or it's daring risks or playing a dangerous game of politics, every move matters. Side characters are equally fascinating, especially the conniving (and frightening) Emperor. Family and relationships still play a strong role in the story. And, as always, Rutkoski's writing is stunning and evocative, bringing each character, location, and emotion to life in the most vivid way possible. 

Lowlights: I miss the romance. There are a couple moments between Arin and Kestrel, but these two are unable to be together in this story. I hated the lack of communication between them, because it was frustrating to read. AND THAT ENDING. It's going to be a long wait for the final book. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf. Loved, 4+ out of 5. A compelling and emotional sequel, The Winner's Crime will leave you heartbroken, shocked, and so very eager for the final installment.


  1. Gorgeous review Lea. <3 I'm so glad you loved this book :D I did too. <3 But yess. I also missed the romance :( and I also hated how they didn't talk to each other. Hmph. Well, I hated how Arin failed to see the obvious :p HMPH. But. THE ENDING. I loved the ending, hah :D I have so much hope. Which will be CRUSHED if Arin doesn't find out in the VERY BEGINNING of The Winner's Kiss. Sigh. Crossing my fingers. <3 Anyway. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts sweetie :D

  2. I loved this book as much as the first one though I did miss the romance too. There were some weird moments where Kestrel imagined Arin was with her which didn't really work for me but otherwise I thought the book was fantastic. Still need to write my review and it will be a long wait for the last book. So happy that this sequel lived up to The Winner's Curse. Often book two is a letdown.

  3. I totally agree with missing the romance. I love that Rutkoski sort of kept it out because it did keep the anticipation higher, but i LOVE my romance. I could have easily done with a bit more than she did put in. But hot damn, that balcony scene was smokin. And one of my favourite things about this series is the mythology she creates! I want more short stories about it, even though I normally hate short stories for series.

    Great review Lea!
    Alyssa from Swept Away By Books :)

  4. I enjoyed this one and can't wait for the next but will prepare self for not much romance

  5. I read the first one and liked it, but I'm not sure I want to read more - maybe when the 3rd book comes out :)

  6. I just received a copy to review, I need to get on it soon!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  7. My God, it causes me so much stress when characters lack communication. Ugh, I'm starting this one tonight, pray for me Lea!

  8. I'm very nervous (but still excited) to read this one because I didn't absolutely love the first one as much as everyone else seemed to, still really liked it though. So curious about what happens after that amazing ending, though! Glad to hear you really enjoyed this installment, despite the lack of romance! I'm sure they'll bring it back around in the book 3!