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.
Omfg, omfg, OMFG. I can’t rate this book high enough. I thought the first book, The Winner’s Curse, was a five star, but this book alone makes me wonder if I overshot the first. Because The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is ABSOLUTELY a five star read.
This book begins where the first ended. We see more of the dynamics of the empire’s courts, the Vallorian Emporer, more of the world, and the inner struggles of both Kestrel and Arin. And, dear God! I had to pause the book many times only because the emotions were getting to me and no matter how much I wanted to see what happened, I didn’t want to witness Arin or Kestrel breaking down.
This book is filled with the espionage, betrayal, and looming shadow of war that the first book merely hinted at. The romance and tension between Kestrel and Arin is still there, but they take a back seat to what is really going on. This only intensifies their motives and the reading.
The writing, though similar to the first book, seems to be on a higher level too. Rutkoski is lyrical and poetic in her prose. Each word seems to strengthen the next and pull the reader deeper into the web Kestrel and Arin are in.
I’m glad I reread the first and jumped into this one right after. Now, it’s time to jump into the third. I can’t leave where I left them. I NEED to know what happens next. I fear what’s going to happen to them. I want them to have a happy ending.