Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (3.3.2015)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 402 pages
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 absolutely loved The Winner’s Curse. I’m sad to say that some of the magic was lost for me somewhere between that book and this sequel.
I felt like there was nothing happening plot-wise. This book is a romance. Nothing more. The entire story was solely Arin and Kestrel pining for one another, and the hardships they faced that kept them apart. And yeah, it sucked, but I didn’t connect to this one nearly as much as I did to the first book. In the first book, those hardships hurt. I didn’t feel that in this one.
I was expecting a devastating ending based off of some of the things people were saying about this book. But I certainly wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did. And it was awful, yes, but I still didn’t feel that emotion I was hoping for. View Spoiler »I do love the way it ended, though – I love when authors take the unpopular approach and go against a HEA. It’s more realistic to me! And it’s just like, AFTER ALL THAT, REALLY?! That’s how it’s going to be?! « Hide Spoiler
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this book. But it won’t stick with me the way The Winner’s Curse did. The prose was still gorgeous, but with the lack of plot and the lack of feeling on my part, it just didn’t quite achieve what the first book did.
Kestrel felt the pieces of her heart suddenly, as if love had been an object, something as frail as a bird’s egg, its shell an impossible cloudy pink. She saw the shock of its bloody yolk. She felt the shards of shell pricking her throat and lungs.
“Say what you want about me, about what happened between us, about the shape of the sun and the color of the grass and any other truths in this world you want to deny. Deny everything until the gods strike you down. But you can’t say that I don’t know you.”
It seemed to Kestrel that her life had taken the shape of a folded knife, her heart a blade inside a body of wood.
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5