The Winner’s Crime

The Winner’s Crime


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.


“You can’t see both sides of one coin at once, can you, child? The god of money always keeps a secret.”
That’s when Kestrel remembered: The god of money was also the god of spies.

The Winner’s Crime is just as eloquently written and devastatingly romantic as it’s predecessor The Winner’s Curse – maybe even more so at times – and there’s no denying that Marie Rutkoski knows what she’s doing. Your emotions will be manipulated and twisted throughout the entire story, and by the end your heart will be completely broken.

The story picks up right where it ended. Kestrel has managed to free Arin and his people. The cost? She’s forced herself into an arranged marriage with the Prince. She yearns to tell Arin the truth – that she did it for him – but time is running out as the wedding looms closer by the day.

If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.

Kestrel is just as amazing as she was in the first book. What I love about Kestrel is that even though she may not necessarily be kickass physically like most YA protagonists, but she makes up for that and then some with her intelligence and wit. Her actions and her words are never unplanned or without an underlying motive, and that’s what I love about her. In this she reminds me of Annabeth Chase (one of my favorite characters of all time) from the Percy Jackson series.

“Kestrel,” Arin said. “I know you think that you’ve hidden your heart where no one can see it. But you need to hide it better.”

The relationship between Kestrel and Arin is absolutely tragic. It’s a common theme throughout literature: two people falling for each other when society seems to be tearing them apart, and Marie Rutkoski pulls of that troupe wonderfully. Kestrel and Arin’s romance is filled with wonderfully written passion and chemistry, and you just can’t help but root for them.

With its devastating cliffhanger ending, I am anxious to know what happens to Kestrel and Arin in the series conclusion The Winner’s Kiss.

“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when in reality you need to let it go.”


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