Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 3, 2015)
Rating: 3 stars
Cover Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Following your heart can be a crime
A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. 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: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.
Roughly two days ago I did a review for The Winner’s Curse which you can see here. Today I bring to you my thoughts on The Winner’s Crime. I will give Marie Rutkoski her due—this is a tad bit better than the first one. It’s more grittier, bloodier and backstab-y. You don’t know who to trust or know what direction the plot was going. I just hate when a story is predictable.
As you know our “heroine” (I’ll use that word loosely) is engaged to the Emperor son and naturally she is supposed to play nice. And play dress up and smile and be the good little daughter-in-law. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah deception all around. Along with murder and betrayal and all the things that is supposed to make fantasy great. I think the synopsis up above did a great job of telling you this books is all about.
With that being said I still found The Winner’s Crime a little boring and political in nature. Kestrel is still vapid and condescending. Yes I get she’s playing two sides to a coin but my goodness, she is so self-centered and delusional that she doesn’t think of the consequences that her actions play. Seriously, in one scene of the book they were strategizing what to do with the barbarians. Kestrel—the beautiful and smart daughter of the General came up with the great idea of poisoning their horses knowing damn well these people rely on them for food, warmth and as a mean of transportation.
I get it—its war still…..
In her mind it was better than being forced into slavery. True but nobody wants to see their children starve. Secondly, either scenario is bad so there is no justifying what she did. Kestrel is so desperate for her fathers’ attention she will do anything. And no I don’t care if she at some point helps the other side. Blood is on her hands. I was so sick of her fake guilt that I threw the book a few time. If you are that ashamed and conscious, you wouldn’t have thought of the idea in the first place.
Which brings me to another point. Kestrel is supposed to be this bad ass but quite frankly she is a doormat in my opinion. I wish she was more of a revolutionary instead of a play as you see type of girl. I seriously question her I.Q. at times. On one hand she is this prodigy who is great at strategy yet at the same time she doesn’t understand the perils of war, Plus the fact she is a love-sick teenagers so I don’t know why adults would ask her opinions or the matter of war. Good thing this is fantasy cause I don’t think Generals and Commanders are flocking to teenagers for help on war. No matter how smart you are.
Now on to Arin. Well there is nothing new to say about him except that he’s a love-struck fool who is blinded by blond/fair tresses. Although the romance is pretty much on the back-burner (a good thing) I still don’t understand the so call attraction between these too. There is no chemistry that I can see. Maybe I’m blind but I’m not buying.
Arin was pretty much stalker-y in the beginning before her realized that okay maybe it’s time to put these feelings aside and fight for my country and my people.
About damn time.
Although the plot is a little suspect in places, The Winner’s Crime is still an enjoyable read. I wouldn’t call it high fantasy by any means because of the juvenile tendencies that seem to pop in and out of the book but it’s decent. I’m just wondering how all this will come together in book 3 because that ending was something else. Nope. I will NOT spoil that for you. Pick up the book for yourself to see what I mean.
P.S, The Winner’s Crime Cover is absolutely stunning <3
Well these are my thoughts. Tell me what you think. Leave a comment or some feedback. Thanks.