The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Expected March 12th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s) received with thanks from NetGalley
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’strilogy.
Holy hell. Seriously. I’m not sure I can even approach this calmly…
As sequel to The Winner’s Curse this was everything I wanted it to be… And it broke my heart at the end. Again. AGAIN! This author keeps doing this to me.
Ok, I’ll try and keep calm. What worked for me?
The Setting – Kestrel has taken up residence in the palace of the emperor and I enjoyed the change of scenery. It meant that comparisons could be made, and it also meant that there was that degree of separation which worked both for and against her, methinks. I loved the palace setting.
Court – If you know anything about life at court in the hey day of the likes of Henry VII etc. then you’ll know what a dangerous game it was. I think the politics of it all was handled wonderfully. Kestrel often has to make decisions which are lesser of two evils.. but still creates an outcome where no one wins.
The Emperor – He’s a horrible, horrible man. And I love that for all the trouble and worry he caused. It made for great reading. I mean, those moments where he was so faultlessly kind to Kestrel… But you knew, just knew, that at any moment he could strike. Talk about living on a knife’s edge!
Verex – I really warmed to his character. I think it was the puppies. Well played Rutkoski, well played.
What did work for me?
Not a lot!
Arin – He frustrated me on more than one occasion. But I think that’s the point. He’s constantly second guessing himself and driven half mad with the love he has for Kestrel.. and in this he makes some really stupid decisions. when I think about it, it’s not just Arin that annoyed me. I wanted to bash both their heads together and have them just admit it. Admit that they love each other (and admit some other stuff which I won’t mention because.. spoilers!) but they don’t. And that’s all for good storytelling.. because these two HAVE to reconcile… and I’m aching for it to happen.
I loved this. I can’t begin to tell you how beyond excited I was to be approved for a review copy. An epic, involving piece of fiction. If you enjoyed the first book then you sure are hell won’t be disappointed by the second installment. And that ending? Hoo boy! Just make sure you’re sitting down…
Oh! A rating? Too easy. 5 stars.