Monday, 9 March 2015

Review: The Winners Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)The Winners Crime

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Pages: 417
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release date: 3rd March 2015

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

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.

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers for the first book

The Winner’s Crime has everything I enjoy in a Fantasy YA novel, betrayals, conspiracies and scheming that kept things highly entertaining; it is a wonderful sequel and begins where The Winner’s Curse ended.

Kestrel is now engaged to Valoria’s crown prince after the deal she made at the end of the first book, I enjoyed her way of thinking and her enthusiasm; she wasn’t without her faults but I really liked her and feel she progressed as a character immensely in this book. I absolutely adore Arin! We see a different side to him in this book now that he is Governor which I enjoyed but at the same time my heart was breaking for him, he was continually fighting for the Herrani people which I admired, aligning himself with dangerous allies to protect his countries freedom.

As with the first book, the romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story which I missed, I liked the forbidden aspect in the first book but there was virtually nothing in this and I honestly kept hoping that Kestrel would have told Arin of her feelings at some stage and what she had done for him instead of allowing him to believe her cold and heartless – within reason of course but I was waiting for the moment. There was certainly a lack of resolution concerning their relationship.

I found the world-building to be lacking in The Winner’s Curse but it was certainly expanded upon in this book and was quite complex; I found myself intrigued by the politics and the differing lands as we learnt more about the Valorian’s, Herrani’s and the people of the East, it has all come together nicely.

I found the plot to be extremely slow moving but it seemed to work, I was very eager to see how all the plotting and scheming would unfold; I was waiting for the moment where the characters would be caught for treason and their betrayals. The build-up was quite exciting and after the ending we are left with the next book has been set-up perfectly.

We are introduced to a number of new characters in this book that I feel will end up playing a pivotal role overall – Prince Verex and Risha, the Eastern princess especially. Jess was a big shock, my heart broke for Kestrel, it would have been nice for her to have a friend close by. The Emperor and Kestrel’s father certainly surprised me; throughout this whole book I never knew who could be trusted, I enjoyed this aspect.

Marie Rutkoski’s writing is wonderfully engaging, I was hooked on every word. We are left with a cliff-hanger so the wait for the next book is going to be excruciating!

Overall, filled with political intrigue, danger, betrayal and drama; The Winner’s Crime is a fantastic sequel.

Marie RutkoskiAbout the author: Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014. 

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


  1. I tried the audio of book one and stopped it wasn't working for me,but I am thinking i need to try reading them...cause this sounds so brilliant

  2. I only skimmed this review because... spoilers. I haven't read The Winner's Curse yet. I actually have a copy, but was thinking about going the audiobook route to fit it in earlier. I also have an ARC audiobook copy of this one too, so I'm hoping to marathon them. :) I'm so happy to see you enjoyed this one so much!

  3. I really liked this one although I was quite disappointed by the lack of romance. I just needed some kind of development in their relationship. :/ I was glad that the world building was better in this one too. I hope the next one will have a nice balance of all the elements, especially the romance! These two just kill me with their feels.
    Lovely review, Sharon!


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