The Winner's Crime

The Winner’s Crime
Author : Marie Rutkoski
Series : The Winner’s Trilogy
Genres : Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication : March 12th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s

Synopsis : 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.


This is the second book in The Winner’s trilogy. This review will spoil you if you haven’t read the first book, The Winner’s Curse.


We follow Kestrel, this time evolving at the Emperor’s. She is now engaged to Prince Verex. This book is way more focused on the political side of the story and it’s SO interesting ! While it took me time to get into the story in the previous book, it was so easy to dive back into this world !

I don’t mind being a moth. I would probably start eating silk if it meant that I could fly.

Kestrel is playing a very dangerous game against the emperor. She is colder, hiding her true feeling behind her pretty face.
It’s very intriguing and you can’t help but but want to know what the next move will be.
There are new characters such as Tensen or Verex. I really enjoyed learning about both of these.

On Arin’s side, things aren’t simple either. He tries his best to save Herran but the treaty isn’t really helping.

I really enjoyed this book ! The plot is really fascinating and intricate ! And that plot twist, oh god ! I’m happy I didn’t have to wait for the final book to be released !
I really like the writing style !

I also enjoyed how Kestrel gets closer to her father. She was seeking a real father/daughter relationship.

Arin’s love for Kestrel is the purest form of love. It broke my heart to witness how much he suffered. Even though it was for his own good. His journey isn’t the easiest but he always finds a way to get what he wants.

The story is gripping and heart-wrenching !

Her fierce creature of a mind: sleek and sharp-clawed and utterly unwilling to be caught.


  • Kestrel is way stronger and she risks a lot in this book. But by staying focused on what she had to do, she lost a lot.
  • Arin is so unpredictable ! I enjoyed this side of him, and also his neverending hope that Kestrel was who he thought she was.
  • Verex is a nice character. I learnt to like him and he is clever than his father thinks he is.
  • Tensen is a very interesting character, dedicated to his cause, no matter what.

5 stars


About the author

Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial

Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.



  1. This book crushed me in every possible way. I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally distraught by a book haha. I must say the political maneuverings were a highlights for me. I loved the seeing Kestrel navigate life at the center of it. Her relationship with her dad fascinated me and it was nice to see some moments between and seeing her love for her father made that ending all the more heartbreaking. Great review.


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