Book Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski

Posted March 19, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy,
Published by Macmillan on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780374384708
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Following your heart can be a crimeA royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. 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: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret. This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when in reality you need to let it go.” 
― Marie RutkoskiThe Winner’s Crime

The Good…:

The second novel in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winners Series, The Winners Crime, is a stronger entry then the first novel. The political intrigue is more intricate, and it’s easy to feel like anything can happen at any moment. As Kestrel navigates life in the palace, she has to juggle her loyalty to her father and to Arin with that of her fear of the Emperor. On the other side, Arin struggles with his feelings for Kestrel as he tries to secure his country’s independence. Watching these two characters play the dangerous game of politics that may win them their heart’s desire, or cost them everything was fantastic. Yet, I hated the lies they told one another while doing so. Though as infuriating and frustrating as their lies were, that aspect did add to the tension of the story, and help move the plot along.

Another thing I really loved about the book, was how Kestrel had to deal with consequences of her actions from the first novel. This helped to make the world that she lives in seem more realistic to me, and added more problems for her to have to handle, making the stakes in her gamble higher. Her strained relationships with her best friend, Jess and Ronan, help illustrate how dangerous the game Kestrel is playing. One lesson that she was forced to learn, was that life is not another hand of Bite and Sting.

The Bad…:

As much as I found the political intrigue to be intriguing and fun to read, one thing that still bothers me about this series is the much touted romance. While I do feel Kestrel and Arin’s romance is believable, it’s kind of strange how the two are willing to risk their lives for one another when they really haven’t had that much contact. In fact they’ve truly only shared three kisses, and hardly spent any time together in this second novel. Then again, Anne Boleyn kept Henry VIII panting after her for many years without giving him much of anything either. So… I guess there’s a historical precedent.

Do I Recommend?

As I stated before, the second novel is a lot stronger than the first. While I felt that The Winner’s Curse was a bit slow at times, The Winner’s Crime had a lot more action and kept me interested from beginning to end. However one of my fears leading into the third novel, which shall be released in 2016, is that Rutkosky will have either no happy ending for Kestrel and Arin, or make us wait until the end of the third novel before they finally get their happily ever after. To be honest, the way the story is going at the moment makes it feel like a tragedy to me, and I find it really hard to see how it’s possible for there to be any happy ending for anyone after everything that’s happened. My recommendation is yes, but read at your own risk! Since I enjoyed this novel more than the first, and found the story to be stronger, I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

About Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Winner’s Curse (March 2014). She grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois as the oldest of four children and decided early on that she was Someone Who Loved Books.

After attending the University of Iowa and living in Moscow and Prague, she studied Shakespeare at Harvard University, where she honed her skill in referring to herself in the third person.

Marie is now a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance drama, children’s literature, and fiction writing. New York City is her home, and she thinks there must be birds of prey living in Washington Square Park; she can see large, wheeling wings from the window where she sits and writes. Marie has two small sons who try very hard to make friends with the family cat, only to be snubbed for the dark quiet of a closet. Marie can tie a double figure-eight knot with her eyes closed. She’s learning how to play the violin. She’s a sucker for fancy tea, and her favorite dessert is crème brulée. Or maybe sticky toffee pudding. Tough call.


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0 responses to “Book Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski

  1. I want to read this book SO BADLY. I loved The Winner’s Curse (aside from the hints at a love square), and I am looking forward to reading The Winner’s Crime. I’m a tiny bit disappointed to hear that Kestrel/Arin’s relationship doesn’t develop any further in the sequel. I am anxious for the political intrigue, though… just because, political intrigue! (Haha my mind’s going blank.) I want to see more of Kestrel’s battle strategy and maneuvering through her father’s position. Lovely review!

    Claire @ Cover to Cover

    • Thanks for the compliment! (Love your blog, BTW!),

      I really didn’t love The Winner’s Curse, but enjoyed it enough to read the sequel. I’m so glad I did! It was that good. When you read The Winner’s Crime, let me know what you thought. I’d be interested to see if you liked it more or less than The Winner’s Curse.

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