Release Date: March 12th, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...
While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.
Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.
This is a book review I probably shouldn’t be writing right after I finished reading, but if I don’t write it now all my feelings will be gone and I won’t know what to say. I’m devastated. Not because THE WINNER’S CRIME was bad, but because it was brilliant and oh so heartbreaking. That ending was so terribly painful and I’ve been making strange noises ever since being constantly punched in the feels during those last chapters.
The ending wasn’t the only painful part. The entire novel was filled with feels. Mostly romance, OTP related feels. Kestrel and Arin are one of my favourite ships and they are ruining me. They dance around their feelings, trying to keep each other safe but at the same time not entirely understanding the truth behind the other’s actions. It causes many scenes that will rip your heart to pieces. I just want them to be happy, but they’re so determined to make it as difficult as possible. Mostly Arin makes it difficult. Damn you, Arin. I love you as a character but I swear you were just frustrating and stupid sometimes.
Don’t think this novels is just about the romance because it’s most definitely not. Kestrel and Arin’s relationship is a major aspect of the story, but time isn’t unnecessarily wasted only on them. The plot has stepped up a notch from THE WINNER’S CURSE. There’s more political games and war discussion. More spying and intrigue. Plenty of deaths and betrayal. Brilliant new secondary characters are introduced, some I love while others make my skin crawl. Characters from THE WINNER’S CURSE who appeared in a few brief scenes are developed further (in mostly heartbreaking ways). AND AND AND the best bit: we got to see more of the world outside Herran and the Valorian capital. It’s a very diverse and interesting world with a wide range of people and cultures and I hope book 3 explores even more of the continent. (I would also appreciate if a finished copy of either this book or the next had a map because maps are cool )
Kestrel continued to be her amazing self. She was my favourite character in the first book and once again blew me away in this sequel. I love her brain, how she deduces like a fantasy Sherlock. How she plays other people to save those she loves. How she works out a puzzle and schemes her way to winning. I love reading about smart girls being badass (in a not necessarily physically kick ass way. It gives nerdy weaklings like me hope XD)
THE WINNER’S CRIME was a gloriously painful sequel to THE WINNER’S CURSE. We get to watch Kestrel be even more of an intellectual badass and come up with brilliant schemes, explore more of the world, and meet an exciting cast of new secondary characters. You also get to go through quite the emotional journey because of Arin and Kestrel as they tumble through big road blocks and shocking twists and stumble toward a heartbreaking cliffhanger that has me terrified for the third and final book.