Published March 3rd, 2015 by Farrar Straus Giroux.
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. (Goodreads)
If you haven’t read The Winner’s Curse or my review of The Winner’s Curse you might want to do that first. This is the second book so they may be spoilers for the first book! You’ve been warned 🙂
The Winner’s Crime is a magnificent follow-up. There is always the fear of second book syndrome, but this amazing story shines. Kestrel is back to plotting and planning and more and more layers are added. Now Kestrel is engaged to the crown prince. This means as the wedding approaches there are different celebrations in which Kestrel must put on a happy face and pretend that everything is great. But things are far from great. Her father is fighting a battle away from the palace, she can’t stop thinking about Arin, her fiance is aloof (thank goodness), and the emperor is just as sneaky as Kestrel is. He has a plan of his own and it’s up to Kestrel to outsmart him and not only save herself but everyone else she loves as well.
It is so easy to fall back into this world. The political and plotting never stop. There are times when you’re waiting for things to be revealed, waiting for characters to say the right thing to the right people, for someone to take a leap of faith, for the wedding to happen, etc. So it is a bit of a waiting game. But you’ll never be bored. There are some twists and turns. New characters are introduced and they actually have a bigger role than they initially let on. I am 100% invested in this trilogy and can not wait for The Winner’s Kiss to be released later this year (March!!). I flipped and flopped back and forth between 4 and 5 stars and settled on 4.5 stars. But honestly, that’s being extremely picky.