Monday, April 13, 2015

Review of The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) 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.

(Summary from GoodReads)


When I read The Winner’s Curse in 2013, it immediately became one of my favorite books, period. It’s beautifully written, has a great plot, and I loved the way Rutkoski deals with themes of slavery, war, and undermined people.  The Winner’s Crime continued to excel in all of these areas, except Rutkoski made Kestrel’s relationship with her father even more complex and gave the reader even more to think about in terms of gender, making it an even more outstanding read.

I was worried about not enjoying the prose in this one as much, because it was so lovely throughout The Winner’s Curse, but it really struck me with this book how many awesome metaphors and symbols there are. I mean, yes, they were there in the first book, but Rutkoski seriously kicked it up a notch.  Someday someone could probably write a thesis on the use of metaphor or similes or symbolism in this book, but I digress.

The Winner’s Crime is one of the most tension filled books I read in 2014.  Some of that tension is quiet, some is loud, but it’s all heartbreaking.  This was especially the case with Arin. Rutkoski makes wonderful use of dramatic irony with his character.  A lot of it is also with Krestel’s father, a relationship that broke my heart in a million ways.  I can’t wait to see how it grows and continues to give me all of the emotions in The Winner’s Kiss.

Reading this sequel, I realized that this series is hugely about gender. Pretty much all of the people who are trying to control Kestrel are men, and the only real female she's had to guide her has been Enai.  Since this series is inspired by times and places where women didn’t have as much power as men, this is extremely fitting, but it also meant that Kestrel had a great character arc throughout this book, which will be even more awesome to see as the series wraps up.

Part of me can’t help but feel a twinge of regret over reading this book so early. It ended with a major plot twist and I cannot wait to get my hands on book three.  The Winner’s Crime suffers from zero sophomore slump, and this trilogy is quickly becoming one of my new favorites.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, but I also bought my own hardcover after reading it.

Other reviews:
Book Rock Betty
Love Is Not A Triangle
Pure Imagination

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