Happy Monday! I'm reviewing a book I finished about a week ago. My review for the first book in the series, THE WINNER'S CURSE is right here.
Before I begin, I wanted to let you know that I am a little bit behind. For those of you who don't know, QUEEN OF SHADOWS came out a few weeks ago. It shouldn't surprise you to hear that I'm currently rereading HEIR OF FIRE. I'm a little bit behind, so I'd like to keep The Reader's Perch free from QUEEN OF SHADOWS spoilers for the time being. Thanks! :)
You can visit Marie Rutkoski's author website using this link.
Because THE WINNER'S CRIME is a sequel, there are some spoilers for THE WINNER'S CURSE. With that in mind, let's begin with the Goodreads perspective:
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.
I started (and finished!) THE WINNER'S CRIME shortly after THE WINNER CURSE. I got them at the same time, an action I highly recommend.
I think Kestrel was landlocked in THE WINNER'S CRIME. Due to her situation, she's not able to really do anything. Her chapters focused on her new and old relationships. It was certainly interesting, but I felt like there should have been something more.
On the brighter side, Arin's chapters were wonderful. I like him a lot more than I like Kestrel, and I was happy to see his character grow in importance. Although he fell into the "main character" category, I didn't really feel like he was getting his fair share of the time in the spotlight in THE WINNER'S CURSE. He does a lot more in THE WINNER'S CRIME, and I love how I got to see different sides of him.
There are quite a few new characters and some characters that really blossomed. Kestrel's father played a larger role in this book, and I enjoyed getting to know him.
The characters have higher stakes in THE WINNER'S CRIME, and it really helped fuel the story and make it a little bit bigger than THE WINNER'S CURSE. The story feels larger, and the characters are fighting for more than their own interests.
I don't like it when main characters start inventing modern devices; in fact, it's one of the reasons I'm no longer awaiting the next BROTHERBAND CHRONICLES book with zeal. Arin does construct a modern device in WINNER'S CRIME, and I think that almost singlehandedly dropped the book that half a star.
On an emotional level, this book felt similar to THE WINNER'S CURSE, but not so similar that it was repetitious.
THE WINNER'S CRIME isn't quite as good as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. That's why I'm giving it 3 out of 5 stars.