A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Another remarkable book from Marie Rutkoski. Her writing was impeccable and incredibly engaging. Once I picked this up it was impossible to put it aside. I NEEDED to know what would happen. I even peeked at later chapters, and I NEVER do that. This was one intense read- start to finish. I was at the edge of my seat literally holding my breath. I am so invested in these characters that anything that could cause them harm (emotionally and physically) had me gripping the book white knuckled.
As with a lot of second books the two main characters are pulled away from one another. This always causes me emotional turmoil but Marie does it well. We do get to see interactions between Arin and Kestrel. Are there enough? Never. I can’t recalling hoping for a happily ever after for two people more. I need them to succeed in their journeys. TWC focused heavily upon the development of both these characters as well as them reconsidering and evaluating their choices with each other and in the grand scheme of things. I felt that it was very realistic and absolutely plausible and likely that if these characters were real (THEY ARE IN MY HEAD AND HEART) they would be dealing with these things exactly.
There were not a ton of action sequences but the pacing felt fast and urgent. The stakes felt real and oh, so high. Like I said, I was tense and stressed throughout the entirety of the book. I flipped pages as fast as I could read to find out what was going to happen next. I will be doing another reading at a slower pace to really appreciate Marie’s beautiful wording.
About those scenes between star crossed lovers, Arin and Kestrel, they are beautifully done. Not only was Arin and Kestrel’s pulse racing but mine was too. Seriously guys, these books have me so immersed in this story I can’t even explain it. I am beyond invested in these characters and this wait for book three will be torture. The Winner’s Crime stacked the cards and everything is in place for the final book. My heart will be aching until it is in my hands.
If you read The Winner’s Curse and appreciated Marie’s beautiful writing, well developed characters and a complex world you will adore this book, I’m sure of it. Once again this series proves to be one of my all time favorites. I can’t fathom the emotional journey I’ll take for the next and final book.