Book Review: The Winner's Crime (The 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.
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
I loved everything about The Winner's Curse and have been anxiously awaiting the release of its sequel.  I felt like The Winner's Curse ended on a cliffhanger---the story just sort of stopped, and I was dying to know what would happen next. 

I often re-read novels before reading their sequels, and I so wish I would have taken the time to do that with this series.  Rutkoski's world is so complex, so richly layered with so many characters, that I found myself a little lost from time to time.  I wished I would have read the two books back to back so that I could have enjoyed The Winner's Crime even more. 

With that said, I did love this book.  Rutkoski's writing style is unique: it's got a weighted depth to it that makes each sentence, each word, even, important to the story.  There is no fluff to her writing, no extraneous scenes.  Each paragraph serves to further the plot, and what an intense plot it was!  I found myself on pins and needles many times reading The Winner's Crime.  The stakes were so high for Kestrel and Arin---and it made for such a thrilling read.

Everything is a game in Kestrel's world...her life is full of subtle machinations and she never knows who to trust.  It's like she's a chess piece and the emperor is moving her, and the other characters, around, all to his benefit.  Kestrel and Arin are constantly trying to figure things out, and sometimes their realizations about what is true come too late. 

I read this book during a busy, stressful week and therefore couldn't read it in one sitting as I would have liked to.  So, I found myself having to sort of catch up on things every time I sat down to read.  What I'm trying to say is that I had to work at reading The Winner's Crime, not because it's a hard read, but just because there is so much going on in the plot.  I highly recommend reading it when you have time to sit and read it through over a weekend, because you'll enjoy it more that way.  I really love this series, and cannot wait for book three!

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