The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is the second book in The Winner’s trilogy following the first book, The Winner Curse. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review on Net Galley by the publishers Bloomsbury. The Winner’s trilogy is a young adult fantasy series. It is set in a different world though the world doesn’t have any magic which makes it a lot simpler than most fantasy books if you’re not the keenest fantasy reader.
The first book, The Winner’s Curse follows 17 year old Kestrel who is the daughter of the military general of their country Valoria. Valoria had previously conquered Herrani and subject all of the Herrani people as their slaves. One day Kestrel goes out and makes a rash decision to buy the Herrani slave, Arin. Slowly Kestrel feels herself falling in love with Arin and she has to choose between loving Arin and being loyal to her country. I wouldn’t recommend reading this review if you haven’t read the first book in the series since it may include a few spoilers though feel free to read this even if you’ve only read the first book though haven’t read this one yet. If you haven’t read the first book yet I would highly highly recommend it. To learn more about you can read a blurb on Goodreads here.
This book was set shortly after the last book and follows Kestrel and Arin facing the consequences of their actions in the first book. I really enjoyed this book and I think I did like it better than the last book though not by much. The story was very intense and I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages.
My favourite character in both the books was obviously Kestrel. I loved how unique Kestrel’s character and found her very different from any other female character I’d ever read about before. I liked how even though she was incredibly intelligent and resourceful her combat skills were definitely below average. Beside this, she still reminded me a lot of Celanea from the Throne of Glass series. But unlike Celanea she couldn’t fight and that made her felt more relatable and human unlike Celanea who felt like a perfect god a lot of the time. While reading this book it reminded me how smart Kestrel really was. I was continually surprised by all of the ingenious and inventive ideas and plans she had up her sleeve. It will always amaze me just how smart Kestrel is and my constant jealousy of her will never cease.
Arin was of course another character that I really adored. I felt though that there wasn’t as much of him in this book as there was in the last book though which was a little disappointing. I do understand though that Kestrel and Arin could hardly be together and the book was meant to resolve around Kestrel more. In this book I did find myself being mostly sympathetic over him. I loved how he was also super smart and pretty much matched Kestrel in terms of intelligence. I found his character really lovable and it was overall really hard to dislike him. I do hope we get to see more of him in the last book though.
We also got introduced to a couple of new characters in this book as well as revisited old ones. I think the main character I need to talk about though is the emperor. The emperor was basically the epitome of what a villain should be. Throughout the whole book I was constantly afraid of what the emperor would do with Kestrel and the Herrani especially when they disobeyed him. It was terrible learning how absolutely heartless he was and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing his demise in the last book.
One theme on the book I really liked was the romance and the forbidden love aspect. Although a lot of people I know, don’t really like reading about forbidden I have to admit I’m definitely not one of those people. Kestrel and Arin are some of the most well matched characters I have ever read about. In this book their love just got more and more intense and it was honestly painful every time they met but weren’t able to show their love for the other. What I really love about this couple was how well they were able to read and understand each other. Even if it took a while they would always be able to tell when they had been misunderstood or lied to by the other. This made me really love them even more as a couple and brought them up on my top OTP’s list.
Words honestly cannot express how eagerly I’m anticipating the final book in this series. It’s silently killing me inside realising that I’ll have to wait at least over a year to see what happens especially after how this book ended. I am super happy and grateful to have received an advanced reader’s copy and would like to thank the publishers for accepting me for review. THANKS HEAPS!! Of course I would very much recommend you read this book, especially if you’ve picked up the first book I can see no reason not to. And if that’s not convincing enough the gorgeous cover should hopefully convince you 😉 I rated this book a greatly deserved 5 out 5 stars!!!!
Let me know if you’re planning on reading The Winner’s Crime in the comments. Just a reminder that the book with be released on the 12th of March so be sure to mark your calendars!!
Gabby The Dauntless Warlock xx