The Winner’s Crime by Maire Rutkoski | Review

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review in any way.
Description from Goodreads:
Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust…

While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.

Oh holy holiness. What just happened?
Marie Rutkoski just took a dagger and plunged it through my heart, that’s what happened. I thought the ending to The Winner’s Curse was bad, but boy it got nothing on the ending to The Winner’s Crime
I’ve taken a reading break while I try and wrap my head around the feels and events of The Winner’s Crime. It’s a serious task, The Winner’s Crime has, as we said in school, knocked my socks off.
Let’s start at the beginning, Kestrel is going through the motions of being engaged to the Prince while battling heartbreak, and what I can only surmise as depression. Arin is no better, but he’s got the luxury of doing it at home. There was so much longing and heartbreak going on, and it actually didn’t irritate me, a very pleasant surprise. 
Kestrel loves Arin, and I mean true-let’s-get-married-and-make-babies-love. And Arin loves Kestrel in exactly the same way, plus some I’m-going-to-kiss-you-untill-I-can’t-breathe and I-need-to-touch-you-all-the-time love. I loved it, especially because it didn’t rule the book and wasn’t droned on and on about. It was there though, lurking in the background as a backdrop to everything that both characters did. Because of that the whole thing felt very genuine, it didn’t feel like I was reading a piece of fiction. So props to Marie Rutkoski.
I remember finishing The Winner’s Curse and sitting with my jaw basically on the floor, I wanted (and still do) Kestrel and Arin to get together and live happily ever after, but that clearly wasn’t going to be happening any time soon. I couldn’t fathom how Marie Rutkoski was going to get the characters out of the situations they were in, and once again I’m in that same position.
Kestrel sets herself up as a spy for Herran, adding even more secrecy and deception to the novel. Obviously making it a very interesting read. But then what happened happened, and there were tears and an outraged exclamation or two. So basically I now really strongly dislike one of the characters (because how could they do that?!) and want Arin to get his sh*t together ASAP. 
It sounds like such a cliche but I genuinely cannot express how I felt about The Winner’s Crime. It was everything I wanted it to be and more, so much more. I have nothing negative to say about The Winner’s Crime, I would and will recommend it to everyone.
When is the next one out? I need it now!
Have you read The Winner’s Crime? I’d love to know what you thought! Let me know in the comments!
‘The Winner’s Crime’ by Marie Rutkoski
5 Stars
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