Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: YA Fantasy
Received: For Review from Macmillan (Thank you!)
Releases: March 3, 2015 by Macmillan
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.
Both The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime were apart of my favorite books read in 2014. This series catapulted into my favorite of all time list which is pretty astonishing. I am so emotionally attached and devoted to this characters that I am dying a little inside that there will not be arcs of the third book because I need it now. This story is so heartbreakingly beautiful in its story, world, and writing.
Marie Rutkoski created a magnificent and intricate world in The Winner's Curse and in this sequel that world was expanded even more as we entered into the realm of the palace and the royal family. I think what drives this story, other than the romance and gorgeous prose, is the political drama. I love that this is a YA Fantasy without magic because it makes the story stand on its own even more. There is so much more on the line than just their romance. The Winner's Crime was entirely different from the first book. The tone and mood were much darker and both the narrators are in very different head spaces. It is very hard to read at times because you just want them to be together and stop being so angsty.
I am so invested in this world and these characters that I was crying, swooning, angry and every emotion in between. There were times were I wasn't sure if I wanted to mush them together and kiss or shake them until they came to their senses. Kestral and Arin are marvelously written characters. They make terrible choices but they make them for the right reasons. They care more for the other person than themselves at times that they just end up making a mess of everything. For a large majority of the book Kestral and Arin were like ships passing in the night. It was really frustrating to deal with them at times throughout the book and if I hadn't loved the first book as much as I did I think it would have bothered me even more. I love how strong of a character Kestral is in this story especially in her dealings with the emperor and she does all of this while wearing a beautiful dress. Sometimes she reminds me of Olivia Pope from the show Scandal in that regard.
The cliff hanger at the end of this book, like what? I just can not deal. Marie Rutkoski, HOW DARE YOU?!? I may still be dealing with this. These poor characters have been through too much. I just want them to have a happy ending. I love how unpredictable this series. I have no idea where it will go from here but I am so excited to see how Marie Rutkoski pulls of the ending to this phenomenal series.
I NEED FOR YOU TO SHARE IN MY EMOTIONAL PAIN. If you haven't started this series, what are you doing with your life? If you are waiting for the series to be complete that may always be a great choice as well. I just can not believe there is only one more book left. I am definitely ready to read anything Marie Rutkoski writes.
I have to wait yet again for over a year for the next book, The Winner's Kiss. I can't wait to see what happens and how this series end. I definitely want to see some happy moments for Kestral and Arin. I don't know how we will see a lot of lightness after that ending but I am so excited to see how Marie Rutkoski could pull that off.