Synopsis: Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
Note: before we start, a bunch o’ things:
- My review for the first book in this series, The Winner’s Curse, can be found here. (My apologies for its teeniness – it’s from before I considered myself a ~reviewer.~)
- This is the forgotten favorite of 2016! I gave it 5 stars and loved it, just forgot to add it to my list. Whoops.
- Sorry I deviated from my barely-established posting schedule. I’ve been having a hard time with some Political Happenings lately and the ol’ blog wasn’t really on my radar.
Okay, let’s get this shindig going, shall we?
THIS IS WHAT I WANTED WHEN I PICKED UP THE WINNER’S CURSE.
The Winner’s Curse is a lovefest. It’s barely fantasy, it’s not really political, there was a surprising lack of action.
The Winner’s Crime, you ask? DECEPTION. INTRIGUE. SUSPICION. ESPIONAGE. ACTION. TRICKERY. GENERAL BADASSERY.
In short, THIS BOOK ROCKS. Arin is sort of just angsty all the time, which is eh, but Kestrel is a TOTAL BADASS. She just made it onto my all-time-favorite female characters list.
This book is yet another YA attempt at striking between the balance between characters full-on killin’ it, action wise, and romance, but this is the best I’ve ever seen. Kestrel makes all decisions with her loved ones at heart, but she doesn’t let love or emotion hold her back. She’s tormented over any pain she has to cause to anyone, but she’ll do what she has to to become empress so she can have monopoly over decision-making. Basically, she’s terrific and I love her.
I am very into politics as well, so when I see a YA book that has anything to do with politics, I’m like, count me in! So it was disappointing when the first book in the series was mostly lovey-dovey gross stuff and not the inner workings of a high-fantasy government. But I figured, hey, it was well written and took like two hours to read, so why not the sequel?
And let me tell you, it would not have taken me almost 6 months to pick this one up if I had known how political it was. This put love to the side and talked government, baby. Okay, no, it didn’t put love to the side, but it wasn’t on every page. Okay, yes, it was pretty much on every page, but the two characters spent most of the book apart so it wasn’t AS intolerable.
I’m scared I won’t like the next book as much, but I lowkey want to read it right now. Too bad I don’t have a copy yet.
Bottom line: work through the first book so you can read the hell out of this one. HIGHLY recommend! Best YA I’ve read in a hot second.