Synopsis: A royal wedding 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?
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.
This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
Date Published: March 3, 2015
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Number of Pages: 402
I can sum up The Winner's Crime in one word: heartbreaking.
Here's why you should read it.
Kestrel continues to be a total badass, playing dangerous political games with the Valorian emperor in order to keep Arin safe. Unfortunately, this involves deceiving Arin to such an extent that he no longer trusts her. This, of course, leads to disastrous consequences and a devastating ending.
The political machinations in The Winner's Crime are even more intricate and compelling than they were in the first book. Kestrel navigates through the highest levels of power with a corresponding level of risk. Arin, too is involved in risky politics as the new governor of Herran. Neither Arin nor Kestrel escape unscathed as they weave through the various power plays and treachery.
I've always been partial to forbidden love stories but the Winner's series deals with the trope in a wonderfully fresh way. Neither Kestrel nor Arin are willing to do whatever it takes to be together - they both have other things to consider, other loyalties. But they can't help but love each other and this is what makes the story so devastating - whatever they try to do to protect each other only drives them further apart.
Fans of traditional romance novels might not care for this book - there aren't a lot of gush-worthy moments between Arin and Kestrel in this installment in the series. The romance in the Winner's trilogy has a different heart to it - it is more real and more painful but ultimately, it will resonate with readers because it is honest and deep.
I'm glad The Winner's Crime is not the ending to the series and I cannot wait to get my hands on the third and final book.