Friday, March 6, 2015


Title: The Winner's Crime
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Edition: Kindle (eARC)
Publication: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK and ANZ) / March 10, 2015
Source: eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Pages: 416
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance
Trailer: Not available.


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.
Lady Kestrel is trying to convince herself that she made the right decision. She wants to believe she signed the treaty in order to free the Herrani. But she knows deep down that this is her sacrifice because everything is about Arin. This way, she will not only save Arin and his people but also it will make his father proud. But her feelings for Arin keeps resurfacing and she knows she won't be able to hold it down much longer. When Arin shows up in the castle for a party, Kestrel tries to shut him out to protect him. But the Emperor knows what she's doing. The Emperor keeps an eye on her that even though she feels she can outwit him, he's got more things up on his sleeve she's never prepared for.

I cannot go detail by detail or else, I will just spoil the entire book. But I loved The Winner's Crime. It is absolutely on hell of a sequel. The scenes kept me holding my breathe that I feel like someone will get caught any time, like I was at the edge of my seat all the way until the last page. The plots became much dangerous this time and everything's a shade darker. The characters developed in a emotional level I couldn't stop pulling my hair. There's a local song here in the Philippines and a line from that song is the best way to describe Arin and Kestrel's unbelievable love story, "Why can't it be, why can't it be the two of us?" Sounds about right, riiiiiight? They have such strong bond that the one can figure out what the other ploys. However, despite the love they cannot tell each other, they also couldn't be together. That's the sick part. No matter how much they love one another, the entire Winner's Trilogy universe conspires against them. And that sick part is one major part why I love this series.

Some parts of the story felt a little bit underwhelming to me though. There were several parts where a certain scene would be cut abruptly and you'll just know something is up. Those parts didn't feel right somehow. I wish these secrets were hidden a little more carefully or plotted a little inconspicuous rather than being that much obvious. It would have kept the assumptions/predictions debatable. Also, I don't understand why Tensen didn't give Arin the letter.

Arin and Kestrel's story is so rich I want to grab them off the book and make them kiss in front of me then shove them back in. It was such pure torture to be in front of the one you love most but you couldn't even hug the person. You couldn't even smile for the person. Rutkoski did such a marvelous job not only in the world building aspect, but in refraining such emotions from being shown. I mean, its as if you're breathing but with a low scale of oxygen. Rutkoski made readers ache from a remarkable set of romance. Am wishing that once we're at the final installation of the trilogy, something beautiful would come out of this. (But honestly, I want a bittersweet ending.)

Caution though, this series has the cruelest but bestest endings, EVER!

The Winner's Crime is crafted in a much thrilling way. Treacherous and cunning, it is set to to glorify the pain of separation and the loss for an ultimate sacrifice. What a truly, maddeningly good sequel!

Thank you Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for the eARC!

"But she hadn't expected this: this stupid hope, this punishing one, for who would long to see someone who was already lost? What goof would it have done? None."
"It was wrong to want to touch a scar and call it beautiful."
"They were painful, these waking dreams."
"..which pain was greater: to give up something precious or to see it taken away."
"He, too, wanted what he shouldn't. He, too, felt how the heart chooses its own home and refuses reason. Not here, he'd tried to say. Not this. Not mine. Never."
"And he was so sickeningly furious with himself, for the way his mind kept reaching for her, at the way his body remembered her, even now, even here, half a world away, that he ground whatever thought he had been about to think into dust."
""Sometimes you think you want something," Arin told him, "when what you need is to let it go.""

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