21469060The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher (Thank you!)
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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. – Goodreads

Review:

After I finished the first book, The Winner’s Curse, I quickly picked up The Winner’s Crime. The Winner’s Crime picks up quickly after the first book, about a month has past and Lady Kestrel currently lives in the palace with her future husband and father-in-law. Kestrel is still as ornery as she was in the first book and is still a smart game player.

She calmed herself. The emperor didn’t know the truth about the day she had pushed for an end to the Herrani rebellion. No one did. Not even Arin knew she had bought his freedom with a few strategic words … and the promise to wed the crown prince.–pg. 7 ARC.

Because Kestrel is an excellent game player, she is trying to push the wedding as far off as possible. No one, but her future father-in-law wants, this wedding to happen. The man she is promised to, Verex, is not interested in this wedding and is actually wondering why she wants to be married to him.

“If you won’t be my friend,” she told Verex, “you’ll regret being my enemy.”–pg. 46 ARC

The Emperor is not a good man, and neither is the Prince. While, for most of the novel we have no feel on the Prince, what we know is that he bribes many around him and has them in their pocket. It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it came to him. When Kestrel lies to the Emperor he makes it clear she will live to regret that action. For quite sometime nothing happens, which of course makes Kestrel let her guard down, which is the last thing she

Kestrel’s life is better when she knows who the bad people are and who the good people are, and this includes Arin. Sweet Arin who ends up at the Palace with Kestrel, who remembers all of the feelings she has for him even when they both try to deny it.

They are both a Taylor Swift waiting to happen with their lack of communication and how you just want to smish them together so they can be happy. Alas, that doesn’t happen throughout The Winner’s Crime, but that’s okay, becasue Rutkoski’s email kept me so firmly in this world, that my heart was willing to forgive. I should be clear, there is nothing about The Winner’s Crime that is romance. I spent a lot of time reading this article not even sure if there would be a happy ending because Rutkoski is that good.

“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”–pg. 194 ARC

The problem with the two, is that they are on different pages hoping the other is reading their page. It’s hard enough in friendships when there is misunderstandings, but when it comes to two rulers that aren’t holding a proper conversation, it is painful to read. But it is a must read. It doesn’t suffer from that dreaded middle book syndrome and is a solid book that left me wanting more from the third book.