Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
Acquired Via: Publisher Release Date: March 3, 2015
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.
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.
You can read my review of The Winner's Curse HERE.
This is an extremely difficult review to write because I loved the first book in the Winner's trilogy. The Winner's Crime is a beautifully written book that continues with the fascinating world-building, but I just didn't like the story. The plot made me uncomfortable the entire time I was reading, the characters became pretty unlikable, and it felt very much like how a second novel in a series should feel.
The Winner's Crime made me feel uncomfortable because the Arin and Kestrel couldn't catch a break. It's not because there was anything that I particularly didn't care for like rape, animal abuse, etc. I don't want to give anything away, and it's hard to really describe the amount of suckage in their lives without spoiling the book. I guess I'll go so far as to say that Kestrel loses everything (take that as you will). And Ronan... Don't get me started on how things turned out for him. That really turned me off from the book.
That's not to say that Kestrel didn't deserve to lose everything. Her actions in The Winner's Curse are really starting to catch up with her, and she's still on her dishonesty kick. And, of course, Arin is jumping to the wrong conclusions about everything, and I just finally got so tired of him that I was tempted to skim his parts. (That would have been stupid because the intrigue really shouldn't be skipped over.) Two other characters that I started to really hate were Jess and Kestrel's father. Sure, they have reasons of their own to be terrible, but ugh...
There was a lot that happened in The Winner's Crime, but I feel like the entire book was just setting the stage for the final book in the trilogy. Nothing was really resolved. There were new characters and areas introduced, but they didn't serve too much purpose in the story. The Winner's Crime ends with a pretty huge cliffhanger, which is frustrating, but I don't know if my frustration stems from where the characters end up, their behavior, or the fact that not too much has progressed since the end of The Winner's Curse.
I know my review is a little ranty, but I expect a lot of Rutkoski because she's an excellent writer. The Winner's Crime wasn't enough to turn me off of the series, so of course I'm dying to read The Winner's Kiss. I just hope that it makes up for everything missing in The Winner's Crime.
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Be sure to stop by and enter the giveaway on my stop on the Mac Teen "The Winner's Curse" tour.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.