Title : The Winner’s Crime
Series : The Winner’s Trilogy #2
Author : Marie Rutkoski
Genre : YA, Dystopian
Goodreads summary :
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.
(No spoilers for the first book either)
I will keep this review short since after all, it’s a seqeul. I will mainly be commenting on the plot development, character development, the romance (because that’s a huge part of the story) and the writing. I will not be discussing specific plot points so there will be no spoilers of the first book (The Winner’s Curse).
I think the plot development in the latter half of the book was really, really good. I liked how the plot moved right from the very beginning, but in the later half of the book? It gets really good. I wasn’t the hugest fan of the plot in the first book, and didn’t find the romantic or the political plot too interesting (though I have to admit the politics was better than the romance) but in this book? Rutkoski changed her game. The politics and the mental battles and all the planning and plotting was so exciting.
I loved how Kestrel and Arin’s individual characters developed in this book. I wasn’t really that attached to them in the first book (meaning : I didn’t fucking care what happened to them) but in this book, I could feel something in me shift. I still am not emotionally attached to either of them, and I know they will never be remembered characters for me, but still, I could see both their intellects, their strengths and their weaknesses, and I felt Rutkoski fleshed them out a lot in this book.
Now for the romance. If you didn’t know, a major, major part of the series is its romance. It’s very central to the plot, and since it falls under the ‘forbidden love’ trope, it’s all the more angsty and well-loved. However, sadly, I’m not a fan of the romance.
In the first book, I just really disliked the romantic storyline. In this book, I have to agree, the romance is far more developed and I did enjoy the angst. However, Kestrel and Arin is not a couple I’d root for. I felt that they’re kinda ‘meh’ and while reading, I realized that I didn’t really care whether they’d end up together or not.
As for Rutkoski’s writing, I have to admit I rushed through the book because I was reading it during my exams, and I couldn’t completely absorb her writing. There were bits and places where I did stop and mull over how nicely it was written, but I still wish I had taken my time with this book.
All in all, I did enjoy this book. It was definitely much better than the first book, and hopefully the third book doesn’t end up being a letdown.