“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”
☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Commentary: I really enjoyed the first book so much, but I found the second book in this series to be a bit more frustrating than the first one because of all of the miscommunication!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the book, but it was an emotional roller coaster ride for me when I was reading. I found it stressful because so many things were happening! The Winner’s Crime focuses more on politics rather than romance. (⊙︿⊙✿)
What I really enjoyed about this book was how the drama was built up. I didn’t know what to expect from this book! Kestrel was so out of her element. She was still the intelligent, cunning strategist from the first book, but she did not have the upper hand. No matter what she was doing, it felt that the Emperor was always ahead of her. Kestrel tried to do what was best for her and Arin by distancing herself. She tried to be indifferent even though she still loved him. She believed it was best for Arin not to know that she was helping him. She didn’t have allies with her, not even Verex. Kestrel suffered a lot more in this book than the first one. Jess, her best friend, did not want to associate herself with Kestrel. Jess was resentful and hateful towards Kestrel even though Kestrel saved her in the first book. Then there’s the constant abuse she endures because of the Emperor. Lastly, her father turning her in to the Emperor. That part crushed me the most. Kestrel adores and loves her father, but I just knew he would pick Valoria over Kestrel even if she is his only family. Right in the feels. ๐·°(৹˃̵﹏˂̵৹)°·๐
I wanted to slap Arin. I was so frustrated with him. He always kept coming at the wrong time! Why couldn’t he try to meet Kestrel in secret? Why did he always have to show up in the worst place possible? So many problems could have been avoided if Kestrel and Arin communicated with each other and teamed up. Arin was focused on building alliances with the Eastern people in order to stop the tyranny of the emperor. Then that kiss scene with the queen! Nope, nope nope. I do not like that pairing at all! (┛◉Д◉) ┛ 彡 ┻━┻
I thought that Prince Verex was going to become Arin’s rival. I assumed a love triangle was going to be formed. That did not happened, instead Verex was more of a friend to Kestrel than anything else. Even though his role was small, I really liked Verex. He was in the same position as Kestrel was. He was forced into a marriage like Kestrel, and loves another. He is far more compassionate and kind than his father. I really hopes he inherits the kingdom and marries Risha. Hoping Princess Risha is the one to get rid of the emperor. ⁽⁽(੭ꐦ •̀Д•́ )੭*⁾⁾ ᑦᵒᔿᵉ ᵒᐢᵎᵎ
The ending broke my heart! The cliffhanger. I wasn’t ready for it. It was good and I just can’t believe that happened. Why didn’t Tensen give Arin the letter?! ლಠ益ಠ)ლ That would have cleared so many things! He would have known the truth! It just upsets me that Arin doesn’t know that Kestrel is going to a labor camp. I don’t think it’s possible that this series will end on a happy note. Praying it’s not a tragedy. I hate the emperor. I really hope he gets what he deserves in the end. I am excited to see how the upcoming war will unfold. I just want the book now! ԅ(¯﹃¯ԅ)
Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆