Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

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April 13, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury Australia, 3 March 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 5 stars!
Other books from author: The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Kiss (2016) & more

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads Synopsis

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’s trilogy.

What I Thought…

I started this book immediately after finishing The Winner’s Curse (review), and if I hadn’t had to sleep and work I wouldn’t have put it down until I finished.  Unfortunately, I’m an adult and skipping work to read is frowned upon… This book, however, I couldn’t dislike it one little bit.

The Winner’s Crime picks up shortly after where we left off, following Kestral’s engagement to Verex, the crown prince of Valoria.  Once again we are treated to the excess of the Valorian kingdom, while their Herrani neighbours face setback after setback at the hands of the emperor.  The world-building by Rutkoski was exquisite, and we are treated to political intrigue, war tactics, romantic entanglements and betrayal throughout.  It’s hard for Kestral to know who to trust in this new world, and while the war may have been halted on the outside, it is by no means over.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this book, it’s trust no-one!  Pity Kestral didn’t learn that particular lesson until it was too late.  There is so much intrigue and betrayal, it’s hard to know who is or isn’t your enemy.  The Herrani continue to spy and attempt to protect their country from the emperor.  The Valorians wage secret warfare against all who threaten them among the Herrani, and not-so-secret warfare against their enemies in the east.  In amongst it all, Kestral is preparing for her wedding to a man she doesn’t love, and spinning a web of lies to try and stop the events that she put in motion.

My love for Kestral and Arin didn’t lessen as I continued to read; if anything, it just grew and grew until I was practically shouting at my iPad!  I just wanted to scream “get it together already!!”  I probably would’ve if I hadn’t been sitting in the lounge room with my parents… Their mutual stubborness and wilful misunderstanding throughout only served to prolong my torture, and with the cliffhanger at the end I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

OMG, that cliffhanger!!  Holy crap, I did NOT see that coming.  Like, at all!  I won’t spoil it for anyone but I was so shocked, and then completely dismayed to realise that I’d read 98% of the book.  I have no idea how I’m going to be able to wait until March 2016 to read the third and final instalment of the trilogy… I’m not the most patient person, and I’m itching to find out what happens next.

I’m so glad to report that this book most definitely did not suffer from a case of the sophomore slump; if anything, it surpassed The Winner’s Crime and kept me enthralled from start to finish.  I have no idea how I’m going to manage to wait a whole 11 months for the conclusion to the trilogy, all I know is that I won’t be procrastinating when it comes time to read it!

What did you think of this book?  Did you enjoy it?


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Hi! I'm Bernadette, a 27 year old lawyer who loves to read (duh!), especially to escape my day job. I love to talk about books but I don't always get the opportunity to do so, hence my blog! I adore YA literature, most genres of Adult Fiction, and I've also been known to pick up a non-fiction book from time to time. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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