The Winner’s Crime is the sequel to The Winner’s Curse and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.

The treaty has been signed, sealed with Kestrel’s engagement to the emperor’s son. Herrani is freed and the Valorians who were once their slavers must go home. Kestrel resigns her life to marrying a man she does not know and living in a prison of her own making. Arin must never know what she did to secure his freedom and the life of his people.

Kestrel’s heart was made of treason.

You were probably left with your mouth hanging open at the end of The Winner’s Curse, with the realisation of what Kestrel has sacrificed and what it means for the people of Herrani. Yet freedom doesn’t come easily and now Herran is heavily taxed by the empire.

Kestrel herself is homesick, facing marriage to a stranger and pining for Arin, but knowing that she did the right thing and they can’t be together. That Arin must hate her. She really is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She doesn’t agree with what the empire, including her own father, does, but expressing her opinion would be considered treason. She can only do what she can to minimise the damage, at great risk to herself and those she speaks to.

Her mind was a curtained balcony. It was filled with the memory of warm movement. Of almost coming undone. Coming close, pushing away, letting go…

I felt there was perhaps a little too much of the talking at cross-purposes. To start with, Kestrel hides the truth with good intentions, but only several occasions she is on the verge of confessing only for circumstances to prevent it, or the lies becoming worse in Arin’s mind. I was relieved when I thought he had worked it out for himself but this aspect just ended on a frustrating note.

There is plenty of political intrigue and loyalties at breaking point. It’s a decent middle book, which so often the flounder and never really get anywhere. This one does and has a startling ending that will make you count down the days till you can get your paws on the final instalment.

The Winner’s Crime is published by Bloomsbury and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 12th March 2015. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Also reviewed @ Lost in Thought

Shelve next to: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.