The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
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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.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and was so excited to read the second one. I had a few issues with it, but I still thought it was pretty great. With the way the last one ended, I was really curious where this one would go. I loved the story progression, but I couldn’t help but feel that at times Kestral was being really dumb. I still really liked her character though. The stake are high in this installment of the series and there is a lot of stuff going on so it was quite an exciting read. Being that this is a sequel, I will try not to give anything away.
Kestral is set to marry the prince. Obviously, she does not want to, but knows that it is in her best interest. Marrying the prince is not the hard part though. It’s having to deal with his father, who is very deceptive and very smart. He will play games and do what he needs to in order to get what he wants, when he wants. He is one scary dude. Kestral is still sneaking and trying to help Herran, but she doesn’t want Arin to know. She cares for him, loves him, but she knows that they cannot be together, and him knowing she is helping is a danger to everyone. At times she could be really dumb and it made me roll my eyes, but most of the time she was cunning and smart.
Arin is trying as hard as he can to not think of Kestral. He even believes that maybe he is making up things in his mind about the way she might feel about him. He has his own issues to deal with, and knows that she will marry the prince. Only he doesn’t know how deep the problems really are. It is only after Kestral uncovers some horrid truths and passes it on to his trusted friend that he finds out how bad things are. Only he doesn’t know that it is Kestral helping. He struggles with his feelings for her and goes back and forth a lot in this. I thought that his character was just as great as in the first book, if not better. Yes, he is stubborn, but he is a good person. He will do what he has to for what is right.
There is a lot of deception going on in this. So many secrets and lies. Then there are the untold truths that linger as well. The tension was through the roof. Not just with Arin and Kestral, but in general. I was always tense wondering if Kestral would get caught. If Arin and her would finally tell each other how they feel about each other. Let me tell you, there is some major chemistry between them and the tension is so thick you can feel it! I also came to like the prince and actually felt really sorry for him. In a place where everyone used everyone else and there are so many things hidden, how can we trust anything? He knew that he was being used, but it’s not like he wants Kestral’s love either. There is so much evil even among family. Mostly with family. I really thought that this was a wonderful sequel, but seriously? That ending?!! Dude! That is kind of torturous and evil. I can’t wait for the final book in this series to find out how everything turns out after such a whirlwind of a sequel!!
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