ARC Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

March 12, 2015 Review 31 ★★★★½

ARC Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 368
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bec (2)

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.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.6

31 Responses to “ARC Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski”

    • Bec

      These have gorgeous covers!

      I may or may not have squealed and jumped around when I got approved haha. It was so good with so many amazing elements!

  1. Kirsty-Marie

    WELCOME TO THE CLUB. IT. HURTS. ON ALL ACCOUNTS. But, especially those missed chances and all the almost-s, frustrating isn’t the word, haha. I do love the direction it took plot wise (despite that ending because holy crap) but Kestrel’s my favourite too, she totally stepped up in the game this time. THE WINNERS KISS NEEDS TO BE OUT NOW. THE PAIN.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Glory

    • Bec


      The plot definitely went up a notch! I’m so excited for the last book. It’s going to destroy us.

    • Bec

      Better communication and trust would have solved 90% of the angst. But that would have been too easy haha.

  2. Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    This book literally broke my feels. I loved how the stakes rose higher and higher. The political game of wit and strategy was pretty cool as was the espionage. I feel so bad for my OTP, I just want them to be happy! The culture and world-building was fascinating. Lovely review!

  3. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    I do really love this trilogy so far, but I kind of… didn’t get too much feels with this one? Which totally sucks because The Winner’s Curse broke me! But still, ARIN AND KESTREL. I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. And it was great seeing more of the world, and more of the politics behind everything. :) Lovely review, Bec! Glad you loved this one. ^_^
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

    • Bec

      Are you heartless? :P I was just overcome by all the angst, and it doesn’t take much to give me a case of the feels haha.

      Seeing more of the world was so cool! I wonder how much more we will see in book 3?


  4. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    Can I just say how happy I am that Crime was such an improvement overall on Curse? I might be one of the black sheeps out there that didn’t enjoy the first book as much as others, but I saw the potential there and gave Crime a go – so happy that I did! The politics and backstabbing that was missing in the first book is thoroughly addressed and I’m so happy that the romance took a somewhat back seat. I can now accept their love because I just wasn’t buying it before. EEEEP! That ending…I’m SO excited for the next book now. WHYYYY!!!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Aquila’s author Sue-Ellen Pashley talks books and romance!

    • Bec

      There’s a few people out there who gave it three stars, and I can understand. Crime really brought everything that was good about the first book up to another level!

    • Bec

      That “now kiss” image/gif comes to mind haha.

      Kestrel is awesome! I love girls who can fight but smart girls who fool their opponents with their intellect are just as amazing!

      Thanks :)

  5. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I still NEED to read The Winner’s Curse but I got a copy gifted to my this past Xmas and it WILL be one of my next reads. Seeing how much your freaking LOVED The Winner’s Crime is only encouraging me more to dive in!! The romance sounds like perfection and the glorious feels that destroy one’s soul tend to be my favorite kind XD Kestrel sounds like my kind of MC too, fabulous review Bec^^ xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

    • Bec

      Yes, Micheline, read it! The world and the characters are so good and thare are feels aplenty. I hope you like it!

  6. Faye M.

    Haha, isn’t it amazing when we find extremely intelligent girls, we all go “I LOVE HER BRAIN” :)) I love me some smart girls, too! Girls who think ahead, girls who are cunning, girls like Kestrel, or at least the person she will have become in this book (I didn’t like her much in Book 1). Glad to see that this installment was a monumental success to you, Bec!
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

    • Bec

      Yes! I always love it when smart girls appear, because I can relate to them a whole lot more. Sure I dream about being kick ass, but my brain is my best attribute. I actually wish my brain could strategise as well as Kestrel’s!

  7. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    UGH. I can totally understand why your feels were breaking over this one, Bec, but N O. All the lying and misunderstanding etc etc just ANNOYED ME. I was like: FFS, YOU SHITHEADS, MAKE UP YOUR MIND. TELL THE TRUTH. BELIEVE HER. JUST DO ONE OF THE OTHER FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.

    I’m sure I was *supposed* to feel all angsty and stuff, but I just couldn’t get over my annoyance at the back and forth, back and forth that was rife in this novel.

    BUT I still freaking loved it. I devoured it, I want the next book in my hands right now. Because THAT ENDING, and I also want to see if Kestrel and Arin ever get their crap together >.>
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

    • Bec

      It was a bit frustrating but THE ANGST. I may be a tad too emotionally invested in these characters haha.

      THAT ENDING WAS SO SHOCKING AND TERRIFYING AND AAAHH. They will surely get their shit together in the next book. They’re both better than this.

    • Bec

      I love this series so much. The world and the intrigue and the angst is just perfect. I hope you decide to try them one day!

      Thanks :)

  8. Laura Plus Books

    Yay! It makes me so happy when I find people loving this book. But it also makes me question why I still have it sitting on my shelf. I really really do have to get to it soon! Thank you for the lovely review Bec!

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