Saturday, May 9, 2015

Book Shelf: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy

More info on Goodreads......


The Winner’s Crime is the stunning follow up to Marie Rutkoski’s incredible fantasy The Winner’s Curse, and is a worthy sequel that once more draws readers into a dangerous world of politics and deception, set against a warring backdrop and littered with electric romance, attraction and intrigue.

As far as sequels go, The Winner’s Crime was spot on in my eyes. Rutkoski ended the previous tale on a bit of a cliffhanger at a really powerful moment, so I was hoping to dive straight back into the same circumstances. Though much has changed for our main characters since the last story concluded, The Winner’s Crime managed to develop the base storyline within this series and included enough conflict between the characters to keep me very satisfied.

Herran is now a free country, thanks to the treaty Lady Krestel bargained for with the emperor of Valoria; a treaty that saw Krestel promised to the crown prince to secure. Betrothed to her nation’s prince, Krestel finds herself once more a pawn in the games of others as she navigates her new life at court. Torn between the love she has for her former slave turned Governer of Herran, Arin and her duty to her father, Krestel finds herself walking a dangerous line as she fights to do what is right by her own heart, even if it means making tough choices and betraying some beliefs she’s had her whole life.

I’m really impressed with Marie Rutkoski’s world building and ability to create a tension filled, high stakes story with this series. I was won over by the characters and their conflicts in the first novel, and The Winner’s Crime only managed to cement my love for them even more and leave me further invested in their journey.

As far as main characters go I’m a real fan of Krestel. As far as I’m concerned, she is a perfect example of a strong, intelligent and capable female lead within a fantasy novel. Krestel deserves to be there with the greats and I can’t say enough that I love the way Marie Rutkoski has written this young woman. Krestel has come a long way since the first novel, and it’s the small changes in her that I appreciate the most. The lines between sides are really blurred in this series, with neither side entirely innocent or completely blameless and I’ve loved seeing Krestel decide her actions based on what she believes to be right, rather than the ideology expressed by her people.

It’s hard for Krestel to go against her father and deceive those around her, but Krestel’s eyes were opened in The Winner’s Curse and she can’t ignore what she knows to be true. Her mannerisms, attitude and nature are wonderful and I love the balance between strong young woman and a girl who just wants her father love her and to be with the man who has her heart.

Even though Krestel is now engaged to the crown prince, her heart still dutifully belongs to Arin in The Winner’s Crime, although there’s no doubt this raises a lot of issues for Krestel. I loved that Rutkoski managed to build between Krestel and Arin whilst managing to refrain from a dreaded love triangle. Sometimes it’s nice just to have two people belong to each other without the added interference of a third person. There are ways to add conflict and include obstacles that don’t mean another person involved and this series is a perfect example of this. I’m hoping against hope for a happy ending for Krestel and Arin---as long as they’re willing to take the chance to be together, risks aside I think they’ll have a happy life together. They certainly do so much for the other now……

Lush, dangerous and vividly told, The Winner’s Crime is a beguiling read! Wonderfully living up to its predecessor, The Winner’s Crime sets the stage for the final book in the trilogy that promises to be an electric ending!

Source: Sent for review by Bloomsbury Australia (Thank you Sonia)
Format: Paperback
Buy it: Bookworld | The Nile | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Recommendation: I really love this series and highly recommend it for fantasy fans!
Cover: I think it's beautiful!
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes--can't wait!


  1. Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough review Rachel - It sounds like this might be a great book to check out. Do you think this works as a stand alone book or should I really start at the beginning of the series? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by :) This is definitely a book when you need to have read the first one first. The Winners Curse is an awesome read though--you should check it out if you can!


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