My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The rather abrupt ending to The Winner’s Curse left me wanting more of Kestral, Arin, and the complicated web of political and romantic weaving from Rutkoski’s first in the trilogy. The Winner’s Crime does not disappoint. The inner machinations of Kestral and Arin’s minds were cleverly laid bare in the first book, and their attraction to each other and distrust of one another’s motives deepens in this installment. The tension between the two is both politically and romantically taut. I grew frustrated with both characters at times for overthinking and doubting both themselves and one another.The plot continues to grow more intricate as Kestral struggles to discern the king’s endgame while trying to protect those she cares for. The Valorian court is a dangerous place and while Kestral has the perceived support of the king, it is a tenuous alliance to be sure. The action of the first book is replaced with a more deceptive and treacherous terrain in the second. As Kestral navigates doing what’s right versus doing what’s safe, she risks everything she has earned: Arin’s love, her father’s approval, Jessica’s friendship, and her faith in herself. Again, Rutkoski pulls a surprising twist at the end, leaving readers shell-shocked and stranded waiting for the third book. If you enjoyed The Winner’s Curse, this spring’s release will leave you desperate for the conclusion to Arin and Kestral’s story.