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Summary of The Winner's Crime 

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. 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... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Summary from goodreads


If you haven't read the first book in this series, The Winner's Curse, stop reading this review and go read it. I'm going to do my best not to include any spoilers in this review, but if you haven't read the first book, reading this review of the second book will definitely spoil a few things for you. I hate it when I accidentally pick up the second or third book in a series at a bookstore and read the description and unintentionally ruin the first book for myself, so I'd like to save you from the same fate. Seriously, books in a series should have a numbering system on the spine so you know the order and don't screw things up. Okay, now that I've given you fair warning, I'll get on to the review.

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski is the type of book whose characters constantly delight and frustrate you at the same time. Throughout the entire book, I found myself eager for Kestrel to tell Arin the truth about why she agreed to marry the Emperor's son, and I was desperate for Arin to realize that Kestrel cares about him and is doing the best she can to make decisions which will result in minimum loss of life. There were several times while reading that I wanted to shake both Kestrel and Arin and tell them they're being idiots and to just kiss and make up already. At the same time, as a writer, I found myself enjoying the emotional turmoil Rutkoski puts these two characters through. The tension of will they or won't they encourages the reader to keep reading.

The pacing of the book slowed down a little too much in places for my taste, and Arin made some decisions I didn't agree with, but overall, I did enjoy reading the book. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I'll be placing a hold on the last book, The Winner's Kiss, and can't wait to see what finally happens with Kestrel and Arin. 

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