Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, 13 April 2015

23276983The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Curse #2
Released: 12th March 2015
Published by: Bloomsbury
Genre: YA Historical/Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
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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.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

When it comes to a book like this - what can I say? It was amazing. The Winner's Crime is a must-read for fans of The Winner's Curse, with the same political intrigue, back-room deals and risky decisions. I found this an addictive read from start to finish, and now once again have been left with a need for the next book! 

The winner knows the whole line of play. But Kestrel saw only one move, and maybe the next.

All the politics from this novel's riveting predecessor come into full play in the story. The Herrani may have some more freedom, but nonetheless there are still many lives at risk as the Emperor wishes to maintain his absolute power. I love how the intricacies of the secrets and lies brewing beneath the surface of some of the most mysterious characters were revealed. There are so many tactics and conflicting motives which are so fascinating to read about. You can sense the drama all unfolding as each new development comes to light, and Kestrel is forced to choose between the duty to her father and the Valorians, and what she feels is actually right. 

There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else's idea of honor without question.

Kestrel herself had to make some tough decisions in this story, and consider how her actions would have an immense impact on those around her, including the Herrani. While not all of her choices necessarily had the best outcome, it just goes to show the difficult situation she was in, playing the game required of her. I was once again drawn into the world which Marie Rutkoski had created, with the perfect balance between show-and-tell, with some rich imagery to accompany everything from Kestrel's opulent gowns to the castle's own secret passages.

Yes, stop playing Kestrel, she told herself. Clear the bets, clear the table. Walk away from the game. Now.

There was of course more to The Winner's Crime than just Kestrel though - let's not forget the other characters like Jess and Arin, who both had their own roles to play, along with some new additions. If you've read the first book, you'd know that the 'relationship' between Kestrel and Arin was already built with tension, and in this book there is even more ANGST. 

Yes, it is frustrating at times and it just felt like there were so many obstacles and moments which were emotionally charged. Getting to look at Arin's perspective in isolation as well as Kestrel's life and way of thinking was a great way of allowing us readers to understand the complexities of their relationship and the spark between them when together. I need book three for some closure on these two...



I was absolutely enthralled by The Winner's Crime, and didn't want it to end. Until the third book is released, I'll be waiting on the edge of my seat to see what could possibly happen next. The foundations have once again been built upon to produce another stunning novel.

On another note - what cover do you prefer: the red one or the blue?


  1. I really want to start this series - have only read amazing things!! I don't know why I keep pushing it back. :3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Great review!

    1. You should Rachel - it really is worth a read - I loved it :) Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. YES. OMG. This book was just torturous in the best possible way, right? ;) Gah...the slow burn romance is killing us all. And I completely agree about Kestrel. She had to make some tough decisions in this book, and she's become such a stronger character because of that. And *sobs* The wait for the third book is going to be horrible.

    Thanks for sharing Eugenia and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    1. It sooo was. Gah the tension was just so intense! Thanks for stopping by Zoe, there will definitely be an anxious wait for book three.

  3. Gah I can't wait to read this one! I absolutely adored the first book and I'm sure it'd be the same for the second book. Thank you for sharing your wonderful review Eugenia!

    1. I really hope you enjoy it as much as The Winner's Curse Laura, this one sooo lives up to the expectation for me - I loved how the main plot points developed so much more. Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. This book... </3
    I just need Arin and Kestrel to sit down and confess EVERYTHING, from top to bottom!!!
    Anyway, I loved the king. I mean, I hate him of course but he was such a very well done vicious character!
    Cannot wait to read the 3rd! :3

    1. I know! I really want them to work things out. It'll be interesting to see how the characters develop even further. Thanks for stopping by Frannie :)

  5. UGH I really need he third book, even though this book annoyed me to no end. I wasn't a huge fan of the back and forth between Kestrel and Arin, and Arin's complete inability to decide whether or not Kestrel was good or bad, or lying or not. I was just like: you claim to love her and then you cannot even believe in her? It made me suspicious of his feelings, and exactly how deep they run.

    That cliffhanger ending has me keening for THE WINNER'S KISS, which I hope ends on a happy note.

    Lovely review, Eugenia! <3

    1. Hmmm you make a good point here with Arin's constant suspicion of Kestrel. I do wish he could just see that she's trying to do her best in a tough situation! I hope The Winner's Kiss ends well and we get some closure too.


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