Book reviews

Book Review: Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by 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

Source: Bloomsbury Australia (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!)
417 Pages

WARNING: Spoilers for book 1.

My Rating

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The feels!!!! My heart is dying from the feels!!!

Me, receiving this book:

Me, finishing this book:

I have to say, this book was very much better than the first. I’d heard so much hype about Winner’s Curse and after reading it, I was like, “meh. It was alright.” After racing and finishing this one, “OMG!!!!” So much better! So much more tension and conflict, so much more world-building and so much more character development. I was very impressed by the end of the book. Round of applause to Ms Rutkoski, especially since she was pregnant while writing this amazing book!

So Winner’s Curse left us with Kestrel selling herself to marriage to the Emperor’s son to save Arin’s life and his people. The questions left to us were mainly: When will our lovers re-unite? And when will Kestrel tell him what she has done to save him? Rutkoski weaves both Kestrel and Arin’s voices splendidly. They are both very similar characters with their differences. They’re both stubborn for different reasons and strong-willed and I found that their personalities clashed a lot during this book. Arin is pushing her to admit her feelings and her contribution to Herran. And at the same time, Kestrel is pushing away, acting indifferent and cold for his safety. Watching this romantic dog and cat chase was torture. My insides were screaming for these two hard-headed characters to see what was right in front of them. Their love.

I especially loved in this book how we got to know more about the world. We finally got a map!!! Maps make everything better for me. I was now able to easily visualize this world and we were introduced to new countries like Decra and their royal empire. That was really interesting to read about, especially since I knew that Rutkoski was building up their role for the third book. We also got to know more about the Herrani Agriculture music who plays the role as the “inbetween” for Arin and Kestrel but often it seemed, he cared more about his own desires rather than their’s.

The writing is great and evenly paced. I would’ve liked a better ending and not so much of a cliffhanger. I’m looking at you Ms Rutkoski! What are you doing to me?!


We got to see more of Kestrel’s line of thinking which was frustrating a lot of times and also Arin’s which was equally as frustrating. We also got to know Verex, the Emperor’s son. He is a great, honest character who doesn’t bullshit. He’s very refreshing to read especially since there’s a lot of tension in this book, Verex helps ease that with his experiences.

In conclusion, GREAT book! Highly recommended! If you’re hesitant for continuing the series, I say, “DON’T!” The romantic tension is high, the characters are substantial and what this book did to my feels are indescribable.

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