(A Dangerous Time to be a Princess): The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

(A Dangerous Time to be a Princess): The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Published by Bloomsbury on March 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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 in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.

Kestral made an agreement to save Arin’s life – and the lives of his people – but the game she is playing has only just began. The king of Valoria is suspicious of the next crown princess and it seems there are many eyes watching ever move Kestral makes. The lavish balls and exquisite gowns do little to mask that there is something very wrong in the capital. If Kestral doesn’t watch her step, the results could be deadly.

The Winner’s Crime is a brilliant follow up to the first book in the Winner’s Trilogy, The Winner’s Curse. Kestral is walking a dangerous line and is putting more than just her own life in danger. She can’t forget Arin or the plight of his people. Secrets and lies surround them with the truth seemingly out of arms reach.

Kestral comes into her own in this book. She’s intelligent with many underestimating her smarts and she isn’t afraid to use all the tools at her disposal to try and get to the truth. Her relationship with Arin is complicated as is her connection with her father, her fiancé and her future father in law. The Winner’s Crime does a great job at exploring its main characters and getting a little deeper into their motives, personal histories and life stories. Arin’s feelings and more emotional side are delved into and whilst some may say he comes across as ‘whiny’, I prefer to think of him as getting in touch with his own personal feelings rather than being so focused on his country and people.

The action is exciting and the romance is heartbreakingly good. This is not a story of happy endings (at least not yet!) but rather a complicated beautifully written story with bittersweet moments, heartbreak, political deviousness and characters you won’t want to stop reading about. The drama surrounding the capital is messy yet captivating and I adore Kestral’s covert and dangerous antics trying to get to the bottom of it all.

The Winner’s Crime has everything I loved about the first novel – and more. Full of betrayal, drama and danger, The Winner’s Trilogy has quickly become one of my favourite series and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys captivating fiction with tenacious and intriguing characters.


  1. I can’t imagine a book being better than The Winner’s Curse but this just shows that I really need to read this soon. I’m so glad you loved this one! I can’t until I can finally break into it. Amazing review Kate!

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