I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on March 3rd, 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Source: requested from publisher
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.
I rather enjoyed this one more so than the first one. The world is expanded and we get to see so much more world building which is what I think was lacking in The Winner’s Curse.
Though I still find Kestrel to dive into things head first with not thinking. Especially when it came to Arin.. Her love for him blinded her so much she couldn’t think straight. I did love that we get to see more of the world though. Too bad the ARC didn’t have the map. The one thing that really bothered me so much is that BOTH Kestrel and Arin are very reckless.. So many people die for their mistakes.. It astounds me how many people they have affected. Those families lives and everything else that came after the repercussions of their decisions. I do have to remark that I can understand their chemistry now. It’s a slow torturous build and it works nicely within the story. Though like I said, her love for him makes her completely blind to everything else. And maybe that’s what Rutkoski is getting at, that love itself is blind to everything else but that person, so you’re not thinking logically at all. I hope she goes through a big change in the last book.
On her friendship with Jess, I can wholly understand why Jess is mad. I didn’t understand why she never warned her own best friend. I know she believed she was trying to save her, but she’s also so much more broken now. Not only herself, but her family.
The one scene that really gets to me is when Kestrel witnesses torture.. What it means to be Empress, how the game she’s playing is going to affect everyone. I love that part. Another scene that I remember so well is when Arin creates a weapon that will change the world..It made me cringe that this is exactly how it did happen. That the person who created the weapon was thinking of killing people at a more efficient pace. I just couldn’t bear to think that it’s one of the worst inventions ever made by humanity.
Overall, I love this one so much more. For its creative characters who aren’t perfect and are so tortured, to the world that has many different cultures who all just want to survive. Read this one right now!