Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR on March 3, 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher
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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 received this book for 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.
One Line: So much better than the first book. I couldn’t put it down!
In My Opinion: Add to cart!
Wow! This was such a turn around from the first book for me, I honestly wondered if I even read the first book right. I don’t know why, but this book just grabbed me right from the start and I honestly couldn’t stop reading. Maybe because the plot moved along so well and the relationship between Arin and Kestrel was so tense, I kept flipping the pages waiting to see what would happen next. Be prepared, this book will rip you apart! I haven’t been this shook up by a book in a long time and the way Rutkoski gutted me countlessly through this book hurt so good.
Arin. Oh, Arin. My heart goes out to you. He really stepped up his game in this book and I felt for him so much more than I thought I would. Arin faces so many dangers in this book and so much happens that changes him physically, mentally, and emotionally. Ugh, there was this one scene in a bar, what he said/revealed to Kestrel, it made my heart ache for him. He totally made me swoon with how passionately he loved Kestrel, taking whatever little bit of her he could get. All the secrets and lies tore me up and I really just wanted to shout “don’t give up her” or “she’s lying, can’t you see how much she loves you too?!”. Rutkoski absolutely tortured me with all the bittersweet scenes between Arin and Kestrel.
Kestrel! You are breaking my fragile heart. She weaves such a tangled web of lies and deception, I’m surprised she was able to keep up with it like she did. And still, it did her no good. Yes, she believes everything she does and says is the right thing to do, but I could easily tell it wouldn’t have made a difference either way. I give her credit for sticking to her plans and even in the worse of times, she stayed strong. Whether or not it was a good idea to do so, I don’t know. Her predicament was definitely precarious and dangerous and I commended her on her quick and creative thinking throughout the book. Overall, Kestrel is still a pretty strong and interesting character and with what happens to her at the end, I’m eager to see how she handles it all.
Side note, I seriously hate Kestrel’s father and I hope he rots in hell. Argh!
So yes, this book was definitely a winner for me, despite it basically ripping me apart. Every scene threw me and my heart for a loop and that ending was just plain wrong. I need more! How can I wait until next year to see how it all ends?! Rutkoski has me deeply invested in this world and these characters now and I only hope she gives me an stellar conclusion.