ARC Review ~ The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner's Crime #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length:  416 Pages
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Source: eARC via Publisher! Thanks Macmillan! 

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.
Simply put, The Winner's Curse series is a masterpiece, and The Winner's Crime is no exception. Everything about this book is just excellent. Even if the plot were horrible (though that's not the case at all), the writing and the characters alone could carry this through.

The Winner's Crime is even darker than The Winner's Curse. Kestrel and Arin spend the book dealing with the repercussions of their decisions in book one and make even more harrowing ones. We see them struggle: to follow their duties and loyalties or to follow their hearts?

Rutkoski's writing is so beautiful and perfect. She crafts such lovely prose. This book brought out all the emotions. It's no exaggeration to say this book broke me. I felt everything like a punch in the gut. Rutkoski is wonderful at building the suspense and weaving in plot twists that we never see coming. This author is fearless and merciless. She's forgiving in parts yet cruel in others. You know the writing is good when it's so absorbing and enticing that you can't help but be emotionally-invested and caught up in it.

Kestrel and Arin undergo so much character growth. It was truly wonderful seeing them develop. The change from book one to the end of book two is fantastic! As I've said before, I absolutely love Kestrel. I like that she's not the most physically adept person like most YA characters, yet she's smarter than most. Her mind is sharp and her perceptiveness and strategy blow my mind. Arin's fierce loyalty and honesty is admirable. Some new characters are introduced and although they are interesting, they pale in comparison to our main characters.

I felt a lack of romance in this book. I miss this smoldering ship!! This book had more yearning and regret and pain. They both take on the stance that their love isn't as important as other things. They hide and deny their feelings. It frustrates me to no end!!

We see life at court and the trysts and gossip and the decorum of it all. It's interesting to learn more of the traditions and watch the Emperor's mind games play out. Kestrel plays spy in this book and tries to figure out the Emperor's plans. At times, I felt this book was slow and unmoving. There was also a lack of happiness and joy and humor. This book was much darker and dealt with some heavy topics, so it makes sense.

But that ending... Major cliff-hanger. You've been warned.

The Winner's Crime is a satisfying sequel that brings along new characters and new troubles and couples beautiful writing with a beautiful story. 


  1. Great review! I really want to read that series, but maybe I should wait until the whole series is released. :)

  2. YOU ARE SO LUCKY!! As soon as I finished the Winner's Curse I was desperate for that second book, and your review makes it sound even more amazing. When does the book actually come out!? I would legit become a book reviewer just to get these books earlier.

    The Life of Little Me

  3. Ooh yes I've been hearing that this one is just as flipping brilliant as the first one. MY BODY IS SO READY FOR THIS.

    Excellent review, Rach <33

  4. The Winner's Curse broke my heart but I was able put it back together. Then I read The Winner's Crime and I think there's no chance of repairing now. The whole book was so sad and I was really frustrated with the characters. I loved that the most that even though sometimes I didn't agree with them I still loved them a lot.
    Awesome review! :)

  5. THAT WAS NOT A NICE ENDING. IT WAS NOT. UNFAIR. UTTERLY UNFAIR. AND I NEED THE WINNER'S KISS LIKE YESTERDAY. AND EVERY SCENE BETWEEN KESTREL AND ARIN WAS A STAB TO THE HEART. I got so frustrated with it, too though (especially their last scene together) I wanted to scream at them, haha. The writing <3 seriously, I'm just so in love with it.

    P.S. Sorry for all the caps. ;)

  6. I totally skimmed this review. Still haven't read Winner's Curse even when it's sitting on my bookshelf just waiting.... I really need to find a way to stop time or something. I need to catch up on my reading ;) Great review <3

  7. I'm finally starting my copy next week Rachel, so I'm fully prepared to experience all the feels (sort of), the praise for this book has been amazing so far, so I'm thrilled to see that you were able to enjoy it too! Gorgeous review! :)

  8. I want to get broken by this book, too!! I haven't read the first one yet, but I've heard great things! Awesome review, Rachel!

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog

  9. Ugh, Rachel. I needed this yesterday. I love Kestrel & Arin for the same reasons you do. Kestrel's perceptiveness & strategy & Arin's loyalty. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for long as it has pay off...please let there be an epic reunion/confession scene...if not in this book, then in the next one. Anyway, great review!!!

  10. This one sounds amazing! I'm really hoping to like this more than The Winner's Curse, which had so much potential, in my opinion.

    Great review, girl!

  11. Amazing review Rachel!
    I'm still not sure how I can deal with the still long wait that is ahead of us... I will be re-reading Crime once my hardback copy gets here, but I don't know if I'll be able to go through the anxiety and the tension all over again!

  12. The lack of romance was painful for me as well. I loved the romance in that first book and when they didn't even kiss once in this book, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. And that ending? HORRIBLE, I tell you! I don't know how I'm going to wait for the final book. I agree with you on Marie's writing. It's just so gorgeous!
    Beautiful review, Rachel!

  13. Strangely, I do admit that there was less romance, but, since Kestrel was thinking about Arin quite so many times, I felt like he was everywhere and so the romance at the same time looming in the air XD Great review, girl! Glad you loved!

  14. Ah, RACHEL. This sounds amazing! I was approved for an eARC MONTHS ago, but haven't got around to reading yet. I've definitely gotta crack open the (figurative) spine...I think I'm going to like this one even more than The Winner's Curse. Thanks for a lovely review.

  15. Aw, glad you enjoyed this - fantastic review! I'm behind on this series, but all the covers are so beautiful xD <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  16. I have heard so many amazing things about these books I just need to try them myself! I actually own the first one in the series, so I have no idea why I haven't done so yet >< But I will be reading them very very soon in the future ^.^

  17. I absolutely want to read this series, but there is no way I am starting it until the final book is released. Major cliffhanger is a big old no-no for me at this juncture. I already have too many of them hanging in the balance, and I can't take another one! Thanks for the awesome review!


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