Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Genres: Fantasy, General, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
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.
I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed THE WINNER’S CURSE, the first novel in this series. However, this installment, THE WINNER’S CRIME, feels very much like a filler book. In fact, I read it a few weeks ago and can barely tell you anything that happened in it.
I’m definitely in the minority with this one, but I struggled – particularly with the day to day court life, extreme angst, and characters that make stupid mistakes over and over again. However, there were still plenty of elements I did like about it.
The stakes in this book are definitely higher, so when the characters made mistakes and actually got punished for them I LOVED IT.
I’m not a psychopath, you’re a psychopath. But anyway, this aspect made everything feel even more real and the evil characters even more evil.
There were a few new characters introduced and and there was a focus on building upon past relationships that I liked. I feel like there could have been more development and additional explanations behind some of the character’s motives, but I especially loved getting to know Kestrel’s father more because he is such a complex character.
Kestrel and Arin’s relationship, one of my favorite elements of the first book, was frustrating in this one. There was SO MUCH ANGST. So much of it felt unnecessary, but I get that it sort of sets the stage for the next book, which brings me to my next point.
The ending was great – the pacing really picked up and a lot of things happened that you can tell are going to be epic for the finale. Getting there though, was a bit of a challenge.