The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski 
Publisher: Ferrars Straus Giroux
Publication Date: January 1st, 2015
Pages: 402
Song I Played While Reading: Talking Body by Tove Lo
Rating: 3 stars

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches she aches to tell Arin the truth: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? 
Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world... and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret. 

I was SO excited for this book. It seemed promising, with her torn between Arin and her country, being a spy in court, plus living in lavish quarters and going to endless balls and parties. I'm a sucker for royalty, I cant help it!
But I was let down, more so then I was with The Winners Curse. The plot, and the direction it went, was interesting enough. But this just felt like being trapped in a box. It was frustrating and slow and a little hard to grasp at some points. As some of you may know, I don't like dramatic relationships. If written the right way, I can handle it. And I know these two had much more at stake then most contemporary relationships, but by the end of the book I wanted to tear my hair out. I understand why she choose to keep her reasonings a secret from Arin, but when desperate times call for desperate measures.. JUST SPIT IT OUT. I couldn't tell who I felt more bad for, Arin or Kestrel.
And oh boy did I feel bad. One thing Rutkoski managed to do was make Kestrel's situation feel as hopeless as trying to save a book from catching fire when thrown into a flaming ball of it. IT WAS SO SAD. The trapped box feeling reference was both from the secrets and in regards to Kestrels life, because she herself felt that way. She's stuck in a marriage to a guy she doesn't love with an evil, conniving, prick of a father-in-law, who also happens to rule the entire country. Her lover is sometimes within arms distancee, and she has to refrain from throwing herself at him. I, for one, would probably have either strangled the Emperor or myself.
From Kestrel's chapters, she's always stuck in the palace. This was the same issue in Curse; she was always stuck in one place, either her home or Arin's. Even with her spying and trying to uncover this mysterious secret and all the balls and parties she attends, it still felt a little slow at some parts. I don't know if its the way Rutkoski writes or just me (most likely me since everyone loves this book).
Even with these complaints, I still enjoyed the story. The writing was eloquent and Kestrel is an intriguing narrator, even if I did want to smack her upside the head a few times. What good characters don't piss you off sometimes? The ending felt a bit rushed, but was surprising nonetheless. I hope Rutkoski kicks ass in this last book because I WANT TO BE AMAZED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. I feel like an odd ball for not absolutely dying over these books.

""You snored," Kestrel said.
"I did not."
"You did. You snored so loudly that the people in my dreams complained."

"An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that it wasn’t how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she’d heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer."

"Did I... say something I shouldn't have?"
Kestrel realized that he didn't remember waking, or the conversation. She could no longer tell if he had meant what he had said to her then. Even if he had meant it, had he meant to say it at at all?
He had, after all, been drugged.
An emotion leaked away. It came from a small cut that Kestrel couldn't close."

""A beheading would be spectacular," Roshar said as Arin steered up the canal. It was a clear day. "Don't you think? You're too heavy for a good hanging. Your neck would break the moment you dropped."
"Beheading's quick, too."
"Not if the ax is dull."
It was a typical conversation between Arin and Roshar, who had very helpfully taught Arin his country's words for various deaths by execution and reminded Arin on a daily basis that his life was in the prince's hands."

"He did not want her to know.
He did not want her to see.
Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me.
She lifted her eyes, and did."

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