Monday, March 23, 2015
Read This: The Winner's Crime
by Marie Rutkoski
The Goodreads Summary Says:
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.
Oh, The Winner's Crime, you've broken my heart.
The Winner's Crime opens up the world that's created in The Winner's Curse, adding new villains, allies and dangers. Kestrel lives in the imperial city, engaged to the prince, and she's in way over her head. The court is made for gossip and spies. And being stabbed in the back. There's so much intrigue and intensity, it all makes for a very fast-paced read. I also liked the views of "the east," the enemies of Valoria that Kestrel's general dad is fighting. I'm sure there will be more of that in the final book. The writing is just as beautiful as the first book, too.
But the characters are everything in this series. They're well rounded and full of flaws. And their flaws cause major problems. Kestrel continues to think she knows what's best for everyone, including Arin. She's afraid of his rashness and lies to keep him from doing anything stupid. But her keeping him in the dark basically guarantees him doing stupid things. Lies, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings mar their relationship throughout the book. There were a few moments where I wanted to shake them and have them (finally) come clean to each other. It's a little frustrating when a simple conversation would fix some of the main problems in a story. But not all their problems are easily solved, especially as they both begin to trust people they shouldn't. Their relationship gets knotted up in all the deceit going on in the rest of the story.
Usually the second book in a series is my favorite (I know, I'm weird). I love watching everything go to pot and seeing characters gear up for the big show down that inevitably comes in the last book of a trilogy. And if The Winner's Crime does anything, it's make everything go to pot. It was such a heart crusher I just kind of wanted it to end. I don't think there's enough hope/possibility that things could get better. So I'm left with some doubts about whether the series will wrap up in a way that's satisfying for me, but I guess we'll see.