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
Normally, I am not a fan of books where romance drives the plot, but The Winner’s Trilogy has, so far, been making me change my perceptions. First, in the Winner’s Curse, we saw a role reversal between Kestrel and Arin, her being the one to protect him, to fight for him, to be his undoing. And she continues that role in The Winner’s Crime, with being the bride of the prince – her price for the treaty. This is the secret she has been holding on to, in a court where the emperor is suspicious of her motives but also admires her for her clinical mind, and wants to groom her to be the next ruler. She constantly longs for Arin, though, for what she could never have – even though she was with him, she knew they couldn’t last. Arin, on the other hand, has been pining away for her. His country is still recovering from the almost-war, and he wants to have Kestrel back. He however, doesn’t know or understand her motives – making for a lot of conflict between the characters; her pushing him away by any means necessary. She still cares for the Herrani, and spies for them, unbeknownst to him.
The story is filled with intrigue, drama and a touch of mystery. It was entertaining, and also emotional; the writing was beautiful, with those vivid flashbacks and those snippets of story that added to the richness of the story. It focuses very much on how the characters relate to each other, and how subtle shifts in them cause bigger changes on the whole – Kestrel losing Jess’ friendship, her gaining the prince’s, Arin and his kinship with Roshar – but of course the most interesting was how familial love can also sometimes be your downfall. On the whole, this book was enjoyable, and I am looking forward to the finale.
Received a free galley from Bloomsbury Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.