Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy (sort of)
Source: Bloomsbury Australia
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 ...Review by Nara
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.
MY GOD SO MUCH FRUSTRATION.
I mean, I guess it's good frustration, but STILL MY GOD SO MUCH FRUSTRATION.
Frustration with what, you ask?
The ROMANCE. It was good. But gahhh so much angst and frustration!
Seriously, Kestrel and Arin would have this moment where you're like is it happening, is it finally freaking happening....and BAM. One or both of them refuses to tell the truth, and THE FRUSTRATION.
I kind of get it though. It's a trilogy; you've got to keep the fans on their toes. And that's fair enough, I suppose.
Anyway, I should probs move on from the romance. Let's talk about other aspects of the plot. I feel like the label of "high fantasy" for this book probably does suit it, despite it having no fantasy aspect whatsoever (apart from the fictional setting). Mostly because of the political intrigue side of things. SO MUCH AWESOME. You honestly just cannot trust anyone, and it's difficult to get attached to any characters because of the fear that they'll be torn away from you (much like in A Song of Ice and Fire...)
I think the world building in The Winner's Crime was slightly better than that of the first book, as a lot more of the world was explored, but I did feel like there were still some minor holes here and there in terms of how I put the world together in my head.
Uggggh the cliffhanger. You know when you read the last page of the book, and then keep trying to turn the page because it doesn't seem like the book is over? THAT. Because dammit, Rutkoski did it in The Winner's Curse, and dammit, she has done it again in The Winner's Crime. Let's just hope she doesn't do it once more in The Winner's Kiss, because that's the end of the trilogy, and we might not ever recover.
World Building: 4/5