The Winner’s Crime
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Curse #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical, Dystopia
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straux Giroux
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.
First Sentence: She cut herself opening the envelope.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
I wasn’t as excited to read The Winner’s Crime as other people were. The cliffhanger ending of The Winner’s Curse did nothing for me – I didn’t feel the need to have The Winner’s Crime in my hands asap after that ending. Honestly, now that I think about it, I shouldn’t have given The Winner’s Curse a rating of four stars to begin with; I only liked it, never loved it. I went into The Winner’s Crime with a little higher expectations than I did for The Winner’s Curse since I’ve heard a lot of people enjoyed The Winner’s Crime more than they enjoyed The Winner’s Curse. In the end, I definitely prefer The Winner’s Curse than The Winner’s Crime.
How ridiculous he must have looked next to those polished courtiers, with his ill-fitting clothes and unshaven face.
How rough, how thuggish.
How wrong. (ARC 92)
As I expected, a huge majority of The Winner’s Crime is focused on the romance between Kestrel and Arin, which is good if you’re invested in it. I, however, was sadly not won over by their relationship in The Winner’s Curse and hoped that The Winner’s Crime will finally make me believe in Kestrel and Arin’s feelings for one another. Instead, The Winner’s Crime did nothing more for me. While people who were invested in Kestrel and Arin’s feelings for one another were reading memories of their swoony moments, all I see was a lot of angst, especially for the first 64 pages or so. In fact, the first 64 pages were basically Kestrel and Arin half-caring about life and missing the other person.
I don’t really understand Kestrel. She was very clever in The Winner’s Curse and in some parts of The Winner’s Crime, thinking of things I wouldn’t have ever thought of, but there were other parts in The Winner’s Crime where she drove me insane. One moment, Kestrel would act super smart, causing me to marvel at her cleverness, and then she’ll take such careless risks without thinking, risks that could get her in deep trouble. While she was doing so, I’m just mentally hitting my head against the wall at how not smart she was being at that moment. True, I’ve never been in a situation like Kestrel and Arin’s before so I can’t completely understand her position, but that didn’t help me feel less annoyed with her nevertheless.
“Do you want him?”
“Prove it,” Arin murmured into her ear. The heat of him settled against her. (ARC 80)
My favorite part of The Winner’s Crime is probably the brutal ending. If you thought the cliffhanger of The Winner’s Curse was brutal, wait until you get to the ending of The Winner’s Crime. The cliffhanger in The Winner’s Crime literally left me with my jaw hanging open, thinking wait, this can’t be it! I will probably be reading The Winner’s Kiss after that ending because man, I need to know how it all ends!
Overall, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed with The Winner’s Crime. It definitely wasn’t bad, but reading a book focused mainly on the romance when you’re not sold on the said romance is not going to work out well. I’ll only recommend The Winner’s Crime if you’re invested and interested in reading about Kestrel and Arin’s romance from The Winner’s Curse.