ARC, ARC Review, Book Review, Juvenile Fiction, YA, Young Adult

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

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Expected Publication Date: 3rd March 2015 

Pic Credit : GoodReads
Pic Credit : GoodReads

“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.”


The Winner’s Curse was the last book I read in 2014 and it careened on to the list of my top favourites of 2014. 

So I when my request to read The Winner’s Crime on Netgalley was approved , I am not ashamed to admit, there was a lot of squealing and dancing around 😀

Marie Rutkoski has gone to the Dark Side.  There is no other way to say it. I wonder if when she sat down to write this sequel, she decided to challenge herself to make sure her readers go on a roller coaster ride of feelings and rip our hearts out!

Well, Ma’am you definitely succeeded there. My feelings took such a bad hit that I have been in a bad book hangover and have been unable to pick up another book since yesterday!

The book starts of where The Winner’s Curse, with Kestrel in the Capital, engaged to Prince Verex and Arin, a governor of the newly Independent of Herran.  Kestrel, in her misconstrued attempt to protect Arin makes a decision that will haunt here for the rest of her life. Arin, oh sweet Arin, is so invested in Kestrel that refuses to see what is right in front of him!

*Rant Starts*

Kestrel was a stubborn headed mule, who believed that she knew the best for everybody while Arin was so lost in his angst of understanding that he made a mess of everything. And both of them forgot to do what they should have done in the first place: trusted their guts, their feelings.

This book was filled with one misunderstanding after the other. There were times that I was actually screaming at the unfairness of it all. I wish I could rant about every single unfair thing that happened in this book but that would be against the rules of non – spoilerish review (The biggest downside of getting an ARC for review!)

Trust me though, when I tell you, that book will grab your insides and twist them until you are screaming in pain and blubbering like a fool.

And do not even get me started at the ending! DAMN YOU, MS. RUTKOSKI!! How could you? How could you do that to us? Was torturing us throughout the book not enough? Was putting my feelings through a ringer not enough? (I still love you though, Ms. Rutkoski! Your writing floors me xx)

I truly and honestly hoped that it wasn’t the end. I had truly believed that no author would truly cut her readers to pieces (I had honestly forgotten about Queen Rowling and Uncle Rick!)

And don’t even get me started on The Emperor and the General (Kestrel’s Father). The Emperor is a Class I douchebag and he actually physically made me sick. The General, though on the other hand, I actually thought was redeemable at one point in the book, but his actions proved me wrong. How could a father, a parent ever make a choice that he did, is something I will never understand!

*Rant Over*

Intellectually speaking, I understood the choices both Arin and Kestrel made. I would have probably done the same if I was in their places, but honestly being someone who is a third party observer with vested interests in their happiness, it was all I could do jump into book and knock their damn heads together.

Going into this book, I kept my fingers crossed, that this book wouldn’t actually be affected with the “Middle Book Curse”, when everything that has to go wrong for a trilogy, does. In other words, half of the middle book in most series turns out be boring and absolutely unnecessary to the plot line. 

Thankfully, my prayers were answered. This book was beautifully written, and was fast paced enough to make sure that I never wanted to put the book down. It is filled with betrayal, loss, and enough action to keep your interest peaked for the next page, the next chapter till you reach the end of the book and realise that you aren’t ready for the book to end.

Yes, there is again the predictability of in the character’s behaviours and actions. But the wonderful writing and the emotions it evokes in you quite beautifully masked and keeps you from recognising the same.

Kestrel, shows an acumen for ruling an empire, with her manipulations and strategic thinking. Yet, she also shows enough heart to understand the hypocrisy of the empire and it’s brutality. Arin, on the other hand, did become whiny and angst filled, but not enough to grate on your nerves. He grows as a person and as a leader of the rebel group, so beautifully that it wasn’t hard to respect and admire him.

But what irked me, was that both Kestrel and Arin let the misunderstandings come between them. Yes, I know that it is important to the development of the storyline, intellectually, but doesn’t mean that it didn’t screw me up emotionally. 

I am honestly in love Ms. Rutkoski’s writing and the way she paints a picture with her words. For an overactive imagination like mine, this series is a perfect match!

It’s going to be very hard to wait for the third book in the trilogy, as yet unnamed but I will. Because Ms. Rutkoski has given me no choice. I will however re-read both the books when I get the physical copy of this one, when it releases.

If you haven’t yet read The Winner’s Curse, you definitely should. You can find my review of the same here.

Rating and Recommendation: 

4.5/5 Stars ( I am deducting .5 stars for the ending. Shame on you Ms. Rutkoski!) 

If you have already read The Winner’s Curse, I shouldn’t even have to recommend this one for you. It will already be on top of your reading lists this year! 

If you haven’t read The Winner’s Curse, I highly recommend that you do before reading this one (duh!), especially if you like an author whose writing tends to be the main focus of the book, and you should definitely read this series, if you love strong characters, and whole lot of drama in the protagonist’s love life. 

Either ways, you definitely won’t regret picking up this series 🙂 


P.S. My First Review Post of 2015! And I am so glad that The Winner’s Crime was it’s subject 🙂


4 thoughts on “Review: The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski”

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