Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Series: The Winner's Trilogy (#2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd March 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge, My TBR List Meme, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Having secured the treaty and independence for Arin's people by agreeing to marry the Emperor's son, Kestrel finds herself living in a world she no longer knows. Treading the fine line between acting the future Empress and staying true to herself, she plays a dangerous game feeding information to Arin, without him knowing.

If the first book messed up how I felt, then The Winner's Crime was twice as bad. About 53% in I realised just how badly the ending was going to affect me, and that it wouldn't end in a traditional happy ever after. I honestly am at the point where I'm not sure the trilogy will work out the happy way (though I really hope it does). However I am in no way saying that the ending didn't work, because it did. It worked fantastically for the plot, the characters and the book. It just broke my heart for poor Kestrel (and to a lesser extent Arin).

So starting with the romance. I was very happy to discover that Rutkoski didn't go for a love triangle were it would have been easy to do so. Verex, Kestrel's fiancé, is as resigned to their engagement as she is, but the two of them do seem to develop some kind of friendship. I can see a potential happy ending for him, though I'm not sure if he'll get it or not.

But Arin and Kestrel's romance wasn't typical. Though it isn't a major part of the story at some points it was the driving force behind them. Because of the politics they couldn't be together, and each of them seemed to believe that the other didn't care for them. My heart just kept breaking for them as they figured out the other's true motives (not the ones they told each other) and imagined themselves together. I love them as a couple, but at the moment I am struggling slightly to see how they will manage it.

The politics in the book is strong. There are a lot of people playing a lot of games and Kestrel is central to a lot of it. I think this really drove the book forward and made it a page turner. To say there was a lot of politics involved, I couldn't help but notice there weren't actually that many characters. The cast was still fairly small and it worked well.

I loved reading this. Pretty sure some parts of it are going to be haunting me for days though!