Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2

the winner's crime -marie rutkoski

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.


 

2.5 Drink Me Potions


Kestrel’s adventures continue with The Winner’s Crime. Unfortunately, this one didn’t sit as well with me.

As you might come to expect of our dear protagonist, Kestrel’s cunning and oh so very smart. Where we left off from the previous novel, she’s in a dire predicament and her love, Arin, has no idea of what she’s done for him and his people’s sakes. Oh how I wanted to tear down a building in my frustration at that.

Here they were. Just about to really figure out that they loved each other, or that they could believe in each others’ feelings, but things tore them apart and now there are just HEAPS of misunderstanding.

This whole NOVEL is based on misunderstandings galore . From one encounter to the next, it’s like realizing the potential and strength of their love for one another is just on the tip of one of their tongues but SOMETHING, oh my goodness there’s always something, keeps them from confessing it or explaining their noble actions.

I won’t say that The Winner’s Crime suffers from Middle Book Syndrome. It doesn’t. There’s plenty of under-the-table kind of suspense building as kingdoms teeter on the brink of war. Alliances are made and broken. Where Kestrel and Arin stand as their worlds are about to fall apart may determine the outcome of their survival and their love’s survival.

But none of that CLOSURE happens in here. It’s like, so near the end, and I thought, YES, they’ve finally come to their senses about each other , only to have that dream dashed on the rocks. Kestrel’s got things up her sleeves that only her brain can really truly understand, but Arin, in his hurt, may ruin them all. So the kind of action and suspense in this middle book isn’t all-out fighting like its predecessor, yet it was still fascinating to see the heart of Valoria and the dark plots being hatched there.

I will end with this. The Winner’s Kiss better have a TON of making up between Aren and Kestrel. ‘Cause I’ve just about HAD it with their endless misunderstandings. I guess it’s one way of keeping up the romantic suspense without adding in a love triangle. I will, grumbling aside, acknowledge my thanks to Rutkoski for that fact.

Overall Recommendation:
The Winner’s Crime began where the previous book left off with our favourite cunning Kestrel trying to manipulate things from the heart of Valoria. However, she’s playing a dangerous game and the suspense racks up as we see how the dominoes may tumble from her actions. Meanwhile, the romantic suspense is just about killing me as Arin is bitter and has no idea of what Kestrel’s done for him. Where there seems to be moments and chances for reconciliation between the two, it never quite reaches that point in this book, thereby dashing away a higher rating and making me wanna hit my head against a brick wall. I will say you gotta read this (or at least skim this) as there’s essential plot twists here, but otherwise, I would save my breath for the final conclusion.

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