Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy, #2)

You know how typically the 2nd book in a series is usually a step down in terms of quality? Well, that could be applied to The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy, #2) by Marie Rutkoski. Unfortunately…

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.

The Good

  • Kestrel is kind of a badass. She is the best at manipulation and playing on people’s weaknesses. I cannot get enough of her when she’s challenging someone or strategizing her next move. Seriously, I live for those moments.
  • This book expands our story to include other areas of this fictional world. We finally get a glimpse of what life is like in Valoria itself, and not just Herran.
  • The focus of this book was less on the rebellion and more on the politics, which I preferred. I love politics, probably why my degree is in political science, and so I really appreciated the behind-the-scenes manipulation going on in the court. It was extremely thrilling in its own right.


The Bad

  • I found Arin to be kind of annoying in this book. He automatically assumed the worst whenever he found out about something that he didn’t like the sound of. It just seemed a bit too unrealistic to me.
  • The king is a total butthead. Couldn’t stand him and just wanted to skim the parts where he was involved.
  • I wanted to see some more development of the relationship between the prince and Kestrel. It went from 0 to 60 too quickly.
  • The buildup was a tad slow before things got really interesting.

I think my biggest problem was the slow start in this book. It took a while for me to really get into, even with all of the politics. Kestrel’s time as a spy was also not that interesting, it served its purpose for the overall plot, but just wasn’t exciting to me. I also spent most of the book wanting to bang Arin’s head into the wall more times than I could count. He should feel really lucky that he’s only a fictional character. Yes, I may be a skeptical person too, but I’m not an idiot.

Final Verdit: 4/5 Stars

Have you read The Winner’s Crime? What are your thoughts on this series? Did you enjoy it? Do you think Arin was annoying, as well?