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REVIEW: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on 12th March 2015
Pages: 368
Source: *Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.
An explosive and compelling read, The Winner's Crime is a pleasing sequel. In terms of the cover… I have no words for it; it is absolutely beautiful, just like the first novel. Though I must say, I am not sure which colour I like the best; I may be swaying more towards the blue.

Having agreed to marry the Emperor's son, Kestrel must now break all ties to the Herrani, however she is finding it considerably harder than expected. Being engaged to a man she does not love and vice versa, Kestrel must please the Emperor and prove her worth of becoming Empress. But to do this, she must complete unknown tasks alongside resist the urge to tell all to Arin. Though what must she do if she has no control at all?

Kestrel is ruthless, strong and incredibly intelligent. She is analytical and perceptive, however she does admittedly appear a little weaker than in the previous novel; but for all we know this is all part of her plan. Moreover, Kestrel is a complex character to figure out though this is key to her personality and makes her actions that more intriguing. I was also pleased to see the novel from both Kestrel and Arin's perspective as I found Arin interesting but strong and powerful; he certainly holds a great presence and I was captivated by his past but also his present.

The plot of this novel was strong and fast-pace. Additionally, it was complex and yet flowed seamlessly with different actions occurring at once; it was a precise and expertly pieced puzzle! Though I felt very few events took place, those that did certainly dominated the novel, leaving you with a cliffhanger at the end… again!

A beautifully crafted novel that will have you admiring it's strength, alongside how even the strongest do have their weaknesses.

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