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.
Seriously, I can’t believe what I just read! How rude to play with readers’ emotions like this! I’m sobbing again! But this second book definitely lived up to my expectations.
“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when in reality you need to let it go.”
So book one ended in a rather painful way, with Kestrel sacrificing herself to save Arin and the Herrani people, by marrying the crown prince. As she’s living at the palace Kestrel has to face the Emperor (who I hope is going to die very painfully, thank you very much), and he’s oh so very clever, but Kestrel isn’t too bad herself, so it was really interesting to see their interactions, and their trying to outsmart each other. But in the end, he’s the one who has the power to destroy her, so she’s playing a very dangerous game.
“I don’t mind being a moth. I would probably start eating silk if it meant that I could fly.”
Since the engagement was announced, there are parties, and the governors are invited. When Arin gets to the palace, things get even more complicated, and he’s not as careful as Kestrel. He doesn’t know the whole truth, and he can’t believe that she’s changed so much from the girl he fell in love with. Between misunderstandings and lies their relationship becomes increasingly shaky. Guys, there’s so much angst in this book, I swear when I thought I could finally see the light at the end of this dark tunnel, everything crumbled down again, and I just wanted to reach into the pages and push the characters in the right direction. But no such luck. Pain it is, then.
An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that wasn’t how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she’d heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer.
So many intrigues and unexpected alliances, so beautifully written. We also got a closer look to other characters, and Kestrel’s relationship with her dad, which I loved (dammit). And finally we got to know more about this world, about what’s there aside from Herran and Valoria, and wow wasn’t that awesome!
She breathed in the cold, and it felt free, so she felt free, and it felt alive, so she felt alive.
I loved The Winner’s Crime, it’s a page turner, and I loved that as there was more action and secrets, the alternation of POVs became more fast paced and it made it all the more mesmerizing. After that really cruel ending, march 1st is definitely too far away, I need The Winner’s Kiss ASAP.