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

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars (and 80% frustration)
Copy supplied by Netgalley in exchage for a honest review.

Still reeling from The Winner s Curse, I had the next instalment The Winner’s Crime waiting for me, which was a very good thing as the first book ends on a very sad note.

This book picks up shortly after the ending of the last instalment. We get faced with the aftermath of Kestrel’s decision to bargain with the emperor.

Kestrel is now betrothed to the crown price and he is just as unhappy about the engagement as she is. To top it off, she has not heard a word from Arin after the ‘peace offering’ she has given herself up for, which Arin views as betrayal.

When a royal summons pressures him to come to court, the two have to try and find a means of understanding. Kestrel can not jeopardize her efforts to keep peace and is faced with the horrible decision of lying to keep them both safe as the Emperor starts to question her loyalty to the crown and country.

Things go from bad to worse, and not only does Kestrel have to deliberately alienate Arin, she also manages to loose her only other friends in her surrounding.

~ The engineer was staring with disapproval. Kestrel didn't care. The words were said to Arin, who wasn't there, Jess, who wouldn't listen, and Ronan who was leaving, and her father, who had shared her home.

Arin, in the mean time, tries to understand and cope with Kestrels sudden change in behaviour. When circumstances force her hand to far, he decides the peace offering under the emperor’s rule is not enough and seeks out aid from the East to win their silent war once and for all.

~ Once, he'd hated her for it. Then it had somehow touched him. He knew it himself. he, too, felt how the heart chooses its own home and refuses reason.

This book is the middle book in this trilogy and therefore understandably slower in pace then the first. Emphasis is put on Kestrel’s struggles and even though he writing is as good as the first instalment, I was missing that element of chemistry and thrill that hooked me in.

Half way through I had the feeling it could not get much worse.. Surely things would look up! No, they don’t.. As a matter of fact they turn stupendously horrifying. Marie will have to pull some massive tricks out of her book to achieve a HEA if that is in the cards of course. On the bottom of that coin, it means that all the decks are laid for a spectacular finale in The Winner's Kiss.

Even though this book was slightly depressing, it was also fantastically clever on other parts. We get to see more of the world Marie has created and we get introduced to some other interesting characters along the way.

I am still trying to come to terms with this ending and it will be agony to wait until sometime 2016 before I learn what will become of Kestrel and Arin.

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