Monday, March 2, 2015

Diary Entry #0015: ARC Review—THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)
by Marie Rutkoski
Date of Publication: March 3rd 2015
Genre: Young Adult | High Fantasy

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.


The god of lies must love this book because The Winner’s Crime is full of lies, treachery and deceit.

First of all, I would like to thank Bloomsbury Publishing UK for providing me a review copy of this book. It has not, in any way, affected my thoughts about the book.

So, before reading The Winner’s Crime, I was re-reading The Winner’s Curse in order to refresh my feels and my memory about Kestrel’s story. Then, I tweeted Ms. Marie Rutkoski saying that I’m having “too many feels” and asked her if book 2 is going to invoke as much emotion from me. She then replied, “Well, many readers report lots of feels for The Winner’s Crime. But ‘gimme Kleenex and chocolate’ feels. You’ve been warned.” I was not expecting that—at all. But I’ll tell you what: she’s right.

“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when what you need is to let go.”

Here in The Winner’s Crime, we are introduced to a new setting. Most of the scenes were set in the capital of the Valorian empire, which has its fair share of poor and wealthy places. We’ve already met the emperor in the last part of the first book but here, he’s given many appearances and we’ll get to know more about him. Do you think he’s bad? Yes, he’s bad—that’s all I’m saying. There are also some characters from the first book that will make an appearance (and disappearance *sobs*) here. There are many new characters introduced and all of them will play a big role in everything. Actually, I loved how certain characters weren’t who I thought they were. It kept me on my toes; always made me suspicious of everyone.

Speaking of keeping me on my toes, The Winner’s Crime might just be the most heart-pounding book I’ve read, ever. It’s full of twists and surprises. It has a lot of edge-of-your-seat moments. From start to finish, my heart was beating so loud in my chest and my hand kept on flying back to my mouth to cover it because in every turn of the page, my lips form this big O and my eyes bulge out of its sockets. Seriously, the scenes were that overwhelming.

Kestrel, in most parts of this book, was walking the fine line between bravery and stupidity. She was risking so much all at once, and not just the things that involve her, but also...Arin. I must applaud her though, because of her strength. Imagine deceiving an emperor, working against him and for the enemy, right under his nose. Kestrel’s character has undoubtedly grown. She had been strong from the first book, but she’s even more so in here. I also like the fact that, even with this growing up business, she had her weak moments—not too much, just enough to make her human.
“The more Kestrel stared at the locks, the more she began to feel like that river. She semsed her staggered self. The things pent up behind the floodgates. The iron lies she herself had swung into place and locked tight.”
Let’s now talk about Arin. Good gods, Arin. I was absolutely pissed at him in this book. Yeah, my heart was hurting for him sometimes but mostly, I was pissed. I’m not going to say the exact reasons why but I’m going to tell you this: he’s very selfish in this book. They (Kestrel and him) cannot resolve their problems with each other mostly because of him. He can’t see past his own emotions—for his people, for the Valorians, for Kestrel. He was so blinded that he won’t let Kestrel explain some pertinent matters. And oh my gods, he did SOMETHING and thought of Kestrel that time and I was absolutely horrified and disgusted. I was like, how dare you?!!! Yeah, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t like Arin as much in this book than I did in The Winner’s Curse.
You’re right. I haven’t been thinking clearly, not for a long time. But I understand now.” Arin pushed his tiles away. His winning hand scattered out of line. “You have changed, Kestrel. I don’t know who you are anymore. And I don’t want to.”
Arin and Kestrel. Kestrel and Arin. God of fire, these two? No matter how very few their scenes were together, it sizzled. Seriously. Even when I was hating on Arin in this, I still can’t help but ship them.
“Prove that you want him,” he said into her hair. His kiss traveled across her cheek. It brushed her forehead, then rested right on the golden line that marked her engagement.

“I do,” she said, but her voice sounded like she was drowning.

His kiss was there, waiting near her lips.

“Liar,” he breathed.
There were so many things that happened in this book. As I said earlier, it’s full of deceit. Each character has a secret to keep that might be deadly to others and beneficial to some.

I think the readers of the first book will not be disappointed with this second installment. The Winner’s Crime took me on a roller coaster of emotions. It kept me on the edge of my seat. It made me burn the midnight oil (or, well, my e-reader’s battery) just to finish this book. I devoured the words, the characters, the story. All of it were so finely spun into this thrilling second book and left a cliffhanger that made me want to jump to the next book right away. If I were you, I’d get my copy as soon as it releases because this book will definitely fly off the shelves.


About the Author

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


No comments:

Post a Comment