Thursday, September 1, 2016

Review: The Winner's Crime

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner's Trilogy, #2
Released: March 3rd 2016
Publisher: FSG
Length: 416 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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. 

Frequent readers of The Nocturnal Library know me for the coward I am. I like my books light and my romances breezy. I do not enjoy putting myself through pain and misery nor do I relish heartbreak in any shape or form. It is therefore not surprising that I waited so long to read The Winner’s Crime. Having read The Winner’s Curse, I was fully aware of Rutkoski’s ability and willingness to subject us to this ordeal and trust me when I tell you that my fears were not exaggerated.

The Winner’s Crime is gorgeous, dazzling and absolutely exhausting. It offers cruelty, misunderstandings, despair and death without a single ray of hope to ease our way. Marie Rutkoski puts Kestrel and Arin through so much, torturing us right alongside them. This is the type of book that demands your undivided attention, loyalty and love, for why would anyone put themselves through this if not for unwavering devotion to the characters.

Arin and Kestrel fell in love under extraordinary circumstances, and while they both risked so much for each other, they never had the opportunity to develop their relationship in peaceful times. There is a price to pay for that, a lack of trust between them that slowly erodes them and leads to far too many misunderstandings. A lot could have been avoided with a bit of confidence and faith, but neither of them really trusted the other. Arin is too headstrong, too proud, too unused to thinking things through and listening. His anger so often gets the best of him, stopping him from seeing things that are right in front of him. As readers, we are meant to be angry with him in this book, but we are also meant to understand and pity, and dream of happier times. Kestrel is a bit braver, a bit more determined, but she too has trust issues. She is the true center of this book, her sacrifice, her decisions, the constant danger she finds herself in. Surrounded by vipers in the Emperor’s court, Kestrel has no one to trust, not even her two best friends.

Rutkoski’s writing is gorgeously lyrical, deeply insightful and intelligent. The sentences she weaves thrill and inspire, leaving us breathless with admiration and awe. She may be cruel with her plots, but stylistically she is a wonder.

The Winner’s Crime ends with a vicious cliffhanger, but the final book is now out and the torment doesn’t last long. It is, perhaps, best to read these back to back, for the sake of sanity. The worse thing one could do, however, is not read them at all. This is one of the best trilogies YA has to offer.

 A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. This series has been on my radar for awhile but I heard the ending of this one was horrible. So I waited. Now that they're all out I'm not sure what I'm waiting for now. Need to get reading!

  2. Ha - she really did put this couple through the wringer. I also think this is one of my favorite YA trilogies!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  3. I loved the first book, I really need to get my butt in gear and finish it. So happy this was wonderful!

  4. I thought the first book was a solid read but loved this one because it had romance and a focus on court politics.

  5. Yessss, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Its sequel is my favorite of the series and I can't wait for you to pick it up. Gorgeous review, Maja!

  6. This book never fails to put me through anxiety and misery and rend me to tears every time I've read it! Such an excellent series indeed!
    Best be binge read to not suffer with those cliffhangers indeed!

  7. Yay so glad to see that you ended up liking this one Maja! I actually don't mind my romances that deal with heartbreak along the way, so this book was just the sort of book I needed. Unfortunately I wasn't a huge fan of the final book in this series, but I look forward to seeing how you get along!

  8. Oh I so love this series, always so much fun. This one was draining though.

  9. Still on my tbr pile. I heard the cliffhangers were awful so I'm glad I waited until the third book was released. Now it's just finding time to squeeze them in.

  10. This trilogy is brutal! But it's one of the few I've loved from start to finish.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  11. I am so curious about this series

  12. You definitely have more gumption than I do. Because I sure as heck can't see myself wallowing in this misery. Lol.

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