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Delicious Torture | Book Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Get ready for the pain and beauty of The Winner’s Crime

Book Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

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the winner's crime marie rutkoski book review

Title & Author: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Young Adult – High Fantasy

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2

Publisher: Macmillan

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

Where to Begin…

The Winner’s Crime is sweet torture. There are a ton of deliciously complex schemes and maneuverings and agonizing miscommunications that may rip your heart out.

I just don’t know how Rutkoski does it. She has crafted a story that’s intricate yet easy to follow and just plain addicting.

In this follow up to The Winner’s Curse, Kestrel resides at the Valorian palace, biding her time until her wedding to the crown prince. But, of course, she’s not twiddling her thumbs; she’s plotting and protecting.

One of the things I love best about Kestrel is her internal struggle of trusting herself and others and deciding what (Valoria, freedom) and who (Arin, herself) she should put first.

Plus, Kestrel doesn’t feel like the typical “fierce heroine.” Her power is in her clever mind, not in physical fighting or supernatural powers. This makes her remarkable and singular in YA, and I love it.

I intrigued the whole time. I kept turning pages because the scandal and drama got so juicy and the web more and more intricate.

I CANNOT wait for the last book. The story keeps getting better, and I was wound tight the whole time I read, waiting for the boom to drop.

And strangely enough, I’m hoping for more than a happy ending. I think Rutkoski will give us a surprising one at the very least.

There is an epic showdown coming, and I’ll for sure be tuning in to see. It’s gonna be huge, I know.


The Winner’s Trilogy are a series of smartly-written books with webs of lies and deceit that are a tortuous pleasure to untangle. If you haven’t started this series, you need to. They are must-read books that are totally unique and extremely captivating. The Winner’s Crime was an excellent sequel that added depth and excitement to the trilogy – I cannot recommend these books enough.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I kind of died with this book

    • I know, right?! GAH that ending…

      • how am I suppose to live ’till the next book? I DON’T DUCKING KNOW!!! Besides: THE WINNER’S KISS, c’mon, that’s cruel!

  • I read it last month and OH MY GOD. Just OH MY GOD.
    I agree with you. The end is gonna be epic, so so Epic!!!!

  • I haven’t got around to read it yet, but every review I read of it was as stellar as yours. This month – I have to read it this month! Great review, as always.

  • Justin Soderberg


  • Stephanie

    It was so good!! I also loved that Kestral wasn’t a ‘badass’ in the physical sense. That ending!!! I’m also hoping for a pretty complex but satisfying ending. There’s a lot to wrap up!

  • Lisa Schensted