Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski Review

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.”

The Winner’s Crime picks up soon after the Winner’s Curse finishes with the main plotline surrounding Kestrel’s engagement ball and her life with the Emperor.

The plot of the novel was very different to the previous book mainly because Kestrel’s situation had changed – as the emperor’s soon to be daughter in law the power that Kestrel’s supposed to have and is used to having isn’t there anymore and so the game that Kestrel is so used to playing is totally different. After someone – Arin’s second in command – hires/asks Kestrel to be a spy for him, Kestrel’s life consists of sneaking around and being deceitful for a good cause. She also has to deal with the Emperor and his guests. There’s also a sub plot of Arin who has to gain allies for his country and how he goes to the Middle East.

“This kind of game isn’t about intelligence. It’s about experience”  

Kestrel is out of her depth in the Palace.  In the previous books we see just how intelligent she is on how she can read and play people however the rules have changed with the Emperor. Kestrel is still incredibly clever – how she finds information, how she transfers it and how quick of a thinker she is, it’s really shocking however no matter how good she is she is always a step behind the Emperor who has been playing the game longer than Kestrel. The Emperor turns a blind eye to most of Kestrel’s actions because he’s training her to be the next ruler as he finds similar traits between her and himself. The book also focuses on her sacrifices – what hasn’t she done for other people and Arin. Kestrel is capable of so much and it’s nice to see a character whose strength comes from her intelligence not just her physical strength.

Arin’s character in the previous book is shown to be deceiving and tactful as he tricks Kestrel into getting what he wants, in this book he changes a lot. We see just how much Arin relies on others as he was very rash and indecisive at the beginning – I guess it’s an effect of being around Kestrel as after he goes to the Middle East he becomes a more logical thinker. Arin has a lot of issues to deal with – he is after all the new leader of the country, a country that is being targeted at viciously. With Kestrel his actions are very un-thought however as the novel progresses he realises he has only himself to rely on and sort of toughens himself up and goes looking for help for his country.

Arin’s trip to the Middle East was interesting as it gave us more information around the other countries and added to the world building, it also gave an insight into the back-story of a character living in the Palace. The sub plot showed how Arin changed to protect his country and gain an ally.

The romance in this book was less than the previous book which was sad as I love Kestrel and Arin together but by putting the romance second the plot was put first which was a good thing. But this book was torture because Arin was so close to finally getting through Kestrel’s necessary lies and I mean he was so close.

The ending of the book is a cliff-hanger as something bad happens to Kestrel following a certain betrayal from someone close to her.


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