- Age Range: 12 - 18 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: HL610L (What's this?)
- Series: The Winner's Trilogy (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (March 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374384703
- ISBN-13: 978-0374384708
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 311 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy) Hardcover – March 3, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A romantic's romance novel, this second volume in Rutkoski's saga picks up where The Winner's Curse (2013) ended. Kestrel, a member of the Valorian ruling class, is engaged and will one day rule the empire. Meanwhile, Arin, Kestrel's former slave, is the leader of the Herrani people, and his subjects are starving thanks to the emperor's taxes. Kestrel is torn between her need to help Arin and her loyalty to her father, a general in the imperial army. Arin, in turn, is unraveled by his uncertainties: Is the woman he loves a power-hungry liar, or is she the spy who is supplying treasonous information that might just help him save his people? Some of Arin and Kestrel's misunderstandings and missed opportunities are more histrionic than wildly romantic, and though the plot is saturated with sword fights, subterfuge, and glittering parties, it isn't suspenseful as the previous entry. Poetic passages demonstrate the depth of Rutkoski's research and talent. "It suddenly seemed that Kestrel had been an empty room, and that all of her wishes came crowding in. They thronged: delicate, full-skirted, their silk brushing up against each other." The ending finds the protagonists again divided and facing life-threatening dilemmas, each thinking of the other. The last sentence resonates so strongly that it might just be enough to sustain fans until the first line of the final volume.—Chelsey Philpot, Boston University, MA
“The cliffhanger ending of this second installment guarantees an anxious audience for the arrival of the third book.” ―BCCB
“Rutkoski's well-written prose is sumptuous . . . The shocking ending will leave readers hungry for the sequel.” ―VOYA
“The Winner's Crime teeters on a knife-sharp edge between devastatingly romantic one moment and simply devastating the next. Marie Rutkoski has captivated me with her world of mind games, power struggles, and espionage, and left me positively desperate to see how Kestrel and Arin's story will play out.” ―Marissa Meyer, New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles series
“Brilliant plotting and absolutely gorgeous writing combine to make The Winner's Crime a standout, but it is the complex, deeply layered characters with their gut wrenching dilemmas and impossible choices that cracked my heart wide open. It left me breathless and craving more--I don't know how I will be able to wait for the final book. A truly unforgettable read!” ―Robin LaFevers, New York Times–bestselling author of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph
“The twisty plot is a cleverly constructed puzzle box of intrigue and deceit, couched in graceful prose that shifts from restrained to voluptuous. The diversity both between and within the various cultures suggests a richly detailed world; yet as the fate of peoples, kingdoms and empires hangs in the balance, the conflict plays out at the most intimate personal level in the reluctant, dangerous, impossible attraction between Kestrel and Arin . . . As positions harden and blood is shed, their destruction at each other's hands looms ever more certain; but a desperate hope that somehow disaster can be averted propels readers to the final devastating page, leaving only the excruciating wait for the sequel. Enthralling, agonizing and incandescent.” ―Starred review/Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
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Oh my GOD!
This book completely gutted me. I swear.
NOTE: If you haven’t read the first book, you should not read this review, it may contain spoilers. I’ll try me best not to include them, but it might give some things away. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
I swear, I won’t be able to stop thinking about these books for a while. I didn’t expect them to be SO DAMN CAPTIVATING. I mean, yes, they had a good blurb, I just never thought they would end up being the kind I obsess about.
Ok well, now you have a glimpse of how much I enjoyed book one and two.
But not everything was roses and unicorns. Ohhh no, there were definitely a thousand WTF moments and I’m gonna kill you moments. It wasn’t easy. It was frustrating and infuriating most of the time, but being the masochist that I am, I loved every single thing about it, because without these precious moments, the story wouldn’t have been as bittersweet and beautiful as it was.
So, if you’ve read these two books, you know Kestrel is now part of this huge plan. Arin is also part of a huge plan. They both play for the same side, only one of them truly knows that. The other is just blind to it. So, you can guess why it was so infuriating.
“There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else’s idea of honor without question.”
Kestrel turns into a freaking BADASS on this book. Like, TRULY. The girl is set on defying everything she feels is wrong. She’s going to do whatever she can to make things right, even when she knows it’s going to cost her greatly. I understood why she felt so guilty. It’s hard, to be against everything you’ve been taught since you were a little girl, to go against everything you thought was right, but actually isn’t. But the way she sees the world and the way she thinks of it, is just a wonderful thing. Yes, she annoyed the crap out of me, because sometimes I just wanted to scream at her and shake some sense into her, but what can you do? The girl is a mastermind when it comes to playing her cards right.
“I don’t mind being a moth. I would probably start eating silk if it meant that I could fly.”
Then we have Arin. GAH, how Iove you. Seriously, I can’t begin to explain how much he means to me now. Like, I’m deeply obsess with him and I just don’t want to get him out of my head, because seriously, why would I want to do that? His deep awareness of everything that concerns Kestrel, how much he sees her and also doesn’t. How deep his feelings run, for Kestrel, his country, his family, his friends. He’s a stubborn, beautiful mess.
“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”
SWEET JESUS! I died a little when I read that.
The story itself became a lot more interesting in this book. Every single twist was a thousand times more shocking and they just sent me into into this emotional roller coaster: one second I was a raging ogre, the next one I was mad with love and passion and then I went back to ogre. It was like that the through the whole damn book. But it worked PERFECTLY. This book in particular is full of tiny little moments that are pure passion, not only between the main characters, but to their history and their beliefs. It all just gave me butterflies.
Marie Rutkoski is a genious. Like, seriously. This woman managed to create mystery and keep everything interesting and intriguing enough so you couldn’t stop. The character’s background is as interesting as their present. Everything fits perfectly.
This series is A MUST-READ. Like, not only that, but definitely worth re-reading, and I’m guessing I’ll do that soon. I can’t be away from these characters for too long. I miss them already.
First of all, I want to give my compliments to the author. Marie Rutkoski is a marvelous writer. She creates gorgeous metaphors, and the plot of this book (and esp. the first book in this trilogy The Winner's Curse) wove a masterful story. I couldn't put down the Winner's Curse, but in the Winner's Crime, all convincing character motivation went right out the window with the focus squarely on this tragic lover's tale between Arin and Kestrel. Normally I love a good love story with push-pull romance woven in, but the way it was portrayed in this book made the whole thing seem ridiculous.
Example with SLIGHT SPOILERS: In a scene where Kestrel is on display at the court, you have her mourning Arin, and then poof! He shows up. Now had she been in public, her pulling away from him would've been completely believable. But they were in a private location with no reason (other than painfully drawing out this "romance") for them not to be real with each other. Wasn't that the dynamic of their relationship from "Winner's Curse?" A relationship founded on "no lies?" Yet, that's all we see every. single. time. they meet up IN PRIVATE. I finally just put the book down in disgust and moved on to another author. Which is a darn shame because the true plot of this book really had potential. Too bad it was overshadowed by this muddled love story.
Maybe those who finished the book will tell you it all worked out in the end, and they moved on to an even better story with Book 3, but I won't be one of them.