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

Genre: YA Fantasy

Title: The Winner’s Crime

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: 3 March 2015

Previous Book in Series: The Winner’s Curse

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Summary: 

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.

What I Liked:

I love me some spy stuff, so this book really appealed to me.  I loved the first book because of the mistress/slave flipped relationship, but this book is all about sneaking around and Kestrel becoming a spy.  She is such a intelligent characters, and strong in ways that have nothing to do with physical strength or ability.  I love it!

Also, the tension in Kestrel and Arin’s relationship is amazing.  They are drawn together, even though Kestrel’s trying to pretend that she has no feelings for him, and Arin thinks that Kestrel betrayed him.  One of my favorite scenes is when Arin kisses her on the forehead and smudges her engagement mark.

The Emperor and his son are interesting characters.  The Emperor is scary in a very HungerGames-President-Snow-like way.  He’s super smart and is about ten steps ahead of everybody else.  He’s a quiet yet menacing figure.  Prince Verex is nothing like him, and I actually like him a lot.  I feel bad that his dad is so awful.

Arin’s adventure to Dacra was interesting.  I liked to see the world expand, and the new characters were a lot of fun.  Roshar is hilarious, and I love his pet tiger named Arin.

What I Didn’t:

Arin, why are you so stupid sometimes?!?!?  He frustrated me a lot in this book because I felt that he should definitely be smarter and more observant.  I mean, his emotions are definitely causing him to think irrationally, but it’s still frustrating!

This book get even darker than the first one.  Lots of murder, poisoning, and torture, so if that sort of things makes you uncomfortable, maybe this series isn’t for you.  Also, I still hate Kestrel’s father so much.  He’s the worst, and I don’t understand why Kestrel gave him the benefit of the doubt for so long.

Overall:

I am loving this series so much.  It’s is full of romance and intrigue, believable world-building based on the Roman Empire, and it’s not afraid to pull it’s punches.  Sometimes, I find that YA books can feel a bit…safe.  Toothless.  This series has bite to it.  Characters are killed and tortured, so you can actually feel the danger in Kestrel and Arin’s situation.  I’m very much looking forward to the last book in this trilogy, and I hope that Marie Rutkoski writes another YA book/series soon!

My Rating: 5/5

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