Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.
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.
Well, to say I am flabbergasted and so frustrated at the same time would be an understatement. This book slayed me. It slowly sucked me in, got me sort of okay with what was happening and then completely demolished every hope I had for these characters.
Rutkoski stepped up her game from The Winner’s Curse and considering I thought that book was brilliant means a lot. She kept the gorgeous appeal of the court and beautiful dresses, but she threw in so much deceit and conniving behaviours, secret rendezvous and steamy moments (ehem, the balcony ;)) that never felt fully fulfilled. Everything about this damn book was flawless.
The lack of communication between Kestrel and Arin in this book was frustrating beyond belief but the impact it had on every single moment was packed full of meaning and emotion. I was screaming and clutching at this book, yelling at the characters to just freaking talk and be honest with each other, but where would be the drama in that? No where, and no one wants to read a book that is perfectly freaking happy.
The need I feel to have The Winner’s Kiss in my hands at this exact moment is strong, and I want to smack Marie Rutkoski for leaving this book the way she did. It was brilliant and frustrating beyond belief and it was simply perfect.
Read this series people. You don’t know what you are missing out on in YA High Fantasy if you don’t.