The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“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) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Commentary: Oh my gosh! This book was so good! There is so much I want to discuss! First of all, this book is very political and complex. The book starts off several years after the Herran War. The Valorians were the winners of the war and forced the Herrani into slavery.

Kestrel Trajan, what a character. She isn’t your typical fighter, she’s a strategist. She is cunning, smart, manipulative, and caring. She is the General’s daughter and is constantly pressured into joining the military for her skills. Her father sees how much good she can bring to the empire if she joins. One of my favorite scenes, had to be when Kestrel won her duel against Irex when she blackmailed him, even though he was far more superior when it came to fighting. Kestrel doesn’t want to be in the military, she wants her own independence. She is far more compassionate towards the slaves compared to any other Valorians.

Arin, is a slave and spy. He is just as intelligent as Kestrel. He works under Cheat, the leader of the Herran Revolution. He and Kestrel have a complicated relationship. They think they know what is best for each other. It did feel that both of them kept playing a game to get the upper hand in their relationship. What I really appreciate about this story is that both protagonists don’t instantly fall in love with each other. Their love slowly grows and I love the theme of forbidden love so much. I loved how much he tried protecting Kestrel. He protected her from taking the poison, he protected her from Cheat’s advances, and he protected her from becoming a slave. Secondly, I loved the two alternating pov. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

Praise the Lord! No love triangles! Sorry Ronan! Kestrel and Arin are perfect for each other. Ronan tries really hard to gain her affections, but she always ignores him and falls for Arin instead.  ੧| ‾́︶ ‾́ |੭

I did not like Cheat at all. He was corrupt and creepy. I, for one, am glad that he is dead.  Man, he was definitely my least like character next to Irex.

Kestrel and Arin have conflicting ideals, and they have to overcome their issues. Arin wants his people to become a nation, while Kestrel doesn’t want any more deaths for both sides. While reading, I felt sad for the people who suffered on both sides. I was rooting for the rebels to take back their lands. I was not that ending of the book! It was so good!!! I was shocked that the she was forced into a loveless marriage, just so the Arin and his people would have their independence, but at a price. I am really excited to see what’s in store for the second book cause I am hooked!! ╰(◉ᾥ◉)╯

Quotes: 

“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”

“My soul is yours”, he said. “You know that it is.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Book Review

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”

Goodreads Synopsis: MARE BARROW’S WORLD IS DIVIDED BY BLOOD—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except… her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Commentary: I read many great reviews about Red Queen, and how amazing it is. it took me a while to get into the book. I felt that it was a tad overhyped. It reminded me of Shin Sekai Yori because there are two classes of people: ones with power and the other slaves.This book did remind me of X-Men since the Silvers have godlike powers. Mare Barrow, what can I say? There were moments many moments in the book where i wanted to slap her. She complained way too much and was jealous of her younger sister. I guess the author tried to make Mare seem like a strong female character, but I didn’t get that vibe from her. She had a destructive personality and was pretty selfish, but there were some moments were I was rooting for her. I really like her power of lightening! The beginning was a bit slow for me, most of the time I was wondering how would Mare get her powers. I liked how Mare’s ability activated when she was about to die during the Queenstrial contest. I found it funny how Mare just wanted to go back home, and the royals were like “You have to change your identity and live with us. You are now Mareena Titanos, whether you like it or not. And oh, by the way, you’re going to marry the younger prince. Your old life was awful, but not anymore! Congratulations. You’re welcome.” I knew that she was going to join the rebels and spy on the Silvers. But, I can’t see Mare being the key figure to the rebellion. There are more Reds with special abilities, I hope someone else can represent the rebellion.  She wasn’t the best female protagonist, nor the worst, just a little below average.  My heart is broken. Maven, oh Maven.  I thought that Maven was the right guy for Mare, while Cal was not. I hated how the author made Maven so likable while Cal was not. I hate how you seemed caring, thoughtful, and honest, but you used Mare as a pawn. Most of all, I hate how malicious you became Maven. I was rooting for Maven until he betrayed Mare. I don’t know how to feel anymore. This whole time, I thought he wanted change his society and help the the Scarlet Guard. Nope, he had other plans. I don’t like Maven now and I have some trust issues with Cal. Maven sort of reminded me of the Darkling from the Grisha series, but not he’s not as cool as him because Maven is a mama’s boy. (Darkling > Maven 😌). Now, Kilorn, Mare’s best friend, was irrelevant to me. He likes her, but she only sees him as a friend. I’m glad that he author did not include any romantic moments between Mare and him. Though the guys love Mare, there wasn’t much romance in this book. I really couldn’t trust anyone in this story. The twist, I wasn’t expecting that.  Didn’t think the king would die, didn’t expect Cal to be the “good guy”, and I definitely didn’t expect Shade to be alive. Anyone can betray anyone. The book was quite a fast read. By the time I finished, I wanted more. I hope the sequel in this trilogy explains how the Silvers came into power.

Quotes: 

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”

“Rise, red as the dawn.”

“Do you, Prince? Do you understand what it’s like to be taken away from everything you love, forced to be something else? To lie every minute of every day for the rest of your life. To know there’s something wrong with you?

Final Rating: 👑👑👑

The One by Kiera Cass: Book Review

“Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.”

First of all, I have to applaud myself for finally completing the Selection trilogy. I finally decided to try audible, and chose this book to be my free book. I am glad that I saved myself from actually reading it. Anyways, here is my review!

Goodreads Synopsis:

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

Commentary: This book series had great synopsis, but I don’t think it was executed well. I really felt that there was no point of expanding the novel into a series. It could have been really good as a stand alone book. I see how many people love this book series, but I really felt this series was meh. But, it did have beautiful covers, I’m not going to lie. The final installment of the series was definitely better than the second book. I felt that America was a bit stronger in this book, but just as annoying like in in the second book. I did roll my eyes several times, especially when she realized that she wants Aspen in her life despite loving Maxon. You can’t have both guys America. Anyways, the book did get a bit more interesting since America and Maxon teamed up with the northern rebels. Celeste had the best character development. She is introduced as the Queen Bee of this story, but her fragility is exposed in the last book. I thought it was cute how she and America finally became friends, but I was not expecting her graphic death when the rebels attack. I was sad that she died, she was one of my favorite selection candidate. I didn’t really care for the other girls as much as Celeste. It did surprise me that Chris and America’s father were part of the northern rebels. I did not see that one coming. I had a feeling that Lucy liked Aspen, I was glad that those two ended up together, but I did feel sorry for her other maid Anne and it surprised me that she died as well. When the king was pronounced dead, I was so glad. He was the only character that I found very unlikable. I saw him as the villain of the book. I just don’t understand how Queen Amberly put up with him. He was very abusive to Maxon too! The king just had problems, so I was glad to know he died. I knew that America was going to wait till the end to finally tell Maxon about Aspen. Maxon knew that there was something strange between America and Aspen, and his feelings were confirmed when he caught them in the hallway. In the end, Maxon forgave her when the rebels attacked. Maxon was my favorite character that’s why I kept reading this series, just for him. i felt Aspen was too boring, and America was too indecisive, shallow, and many other things. I did like the ending of the book, and I am sort of considering reading The Heir just to see what happens. I just don’t understand why there will be more books.

Final Rating: 👑👑👑 (3.5)

The Elite by Kiera Cass: Book Review

Goodreads Synposis:

The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Commentary: I thought that The Elite was going to be better than the first one…I was wrong. I found myself very frustrated reading this book because of America. I previously mentioned that I felt she was an okay protagonist in the first book, but in this one, words cannot even describe how annoying she was. She kept going back and forth between both Prince Maxon and Aspen…she couldn’t make up her mind. I really felt that this series should have not been expanded into a trilogy nor should have the book been set in a dystopian society. America was spoiled and very conflicted about her feelings for Maxon. She could hardly trust him and had jealously issues, but she would immediately change her opinion about him when he paid her attention. I swear, she acted like the whole competition was about her…I didn’t even think I could finish this book, but somehow I did. Also, she kept getting jealous at Maxon when she was cheating on him with Aspen. How is that justifiable?

I would have preferred this book if Maxon picked one of the other girls besides America. What’s so great America anyways? Then let’s talk about the rebels, I felt that the rebels were built up in this book and it was so disappointing. I really wanted America to be captured by the rebels when they were running after her. They just let her live and that was it. What was that? It would have made for a much cooler series if she was captured and became leader of the rebels, but that’s just me. Then there’s hardly any description for the war happening in New Asia, I don’t think it was relevant to the plot. Aspen is too perfect, and he is a bit boring. He was annoying and had to stop trying to win her back. I didn’t like the love triangle in this book at all. Whenever he and America were together, I wanted someone to spy on them or catch them in the act. That would have been more interesting to read. Before starting this book, I felt that in the second book Maxon was going to find out about them…he didn’t. How does he not know that Aspen is a palace guard? Oh Maxon, its really hard to hate him. He does so much for America, but she doesn’t see his efforts to win her over. There were some good parts such as like Marlee Tames and Carter Woodwork canned by the royals. I really enjoyed that part because the author finally gave a clear answer to why she was so secretive in the first book. I also did like the Halloween party and the reunion with families as well. I don’t think I will reread this book at all, but it wasn’t as bad as the Meyer Dyer series. I think I need time away from this series before reading the last book. I felt it was very cliché…

Final Rating: 👑👑👑(2.5)

The Selection by Kiera Cass: Book Review

Hello readers, I’ve just finished reading The Selection by Kiera Cass. My really good friend Imee recommended me this book! There are going to be spoilers!

 Goodreads synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete in for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Commentary: Prince Maxon was my favorite character in the novel. He was lovable, sweet, and very kind to all around him. He was definitely a Prince Charming, he treats all of the selected like a true gentleman. I really had my doubts about Maxon at the beginning of the novel since I thought he was shallow for wanting a Selection, but once I read about his motive to why he wanted one, I thought it was rather sweet. I had a feeling that he had fallen for the protagonist from early on, so I wasn’t surprised that he chose her for the elite. He’s been so kind and romantic to America, though she kept insisting that they stay just friends.

I felt America was an okay protagonist; she wasn’t the greatest nor the worst. I did find Prince Maxon to be the second guy in the novel because America was in a relationship with Aspen from the start of the novel. I did not find the love triangle annoying…yet. I felt that her feelings were indeed very much conflicted for both men. She was in love with Aspen for two years; of course it’s not going to be an easy process to get over him once she was in the contest. I liked the pacing of the book. I am glad that she did not fall in love with the Maxon immediately. Though, I did feel that she jumped to conclusions very quickly. For example, when America spotted Aspen holding the hand of another girl, she quickly believed that he had moved on to another girl after he broke up with her, and luckily, she listened to him once he became a palace guard. But, I really liked that she is humble and did not have to change herself in order to get the prince to like her. She stayed true to herself and her motives are good since her family gets paid in checks because she is in the Selection. She thinks of her family a lot more than herself.

I liked Aspen; I couldn’t hate him because he was so good to America with the little he had. I felt that he had her best interest in mind and he never wanted her to suffer like himself. His caste number was six and America’s was five, he did not want her to live in poverty. He knew that he had to break up with her in other for her to have a better life. He’s a hard worker, sacrificial, and willing to make America happy no matter what. When he spoke of the draft, I did not expect him to become a palace guard. Near the end of the book, he tells America that he still loves her. I was a bit sadden that I know that America will end up choosing Maxon over him.

Celeste had to be the most interesting selected because she started drama and was ambitious. She was the typical mean girl who wanted the prince from the beginning. The royals had no idea that she was cruel to the other girls since she concealed her personality very well. Marlee, is America’s friend in the Selection, and she is the favorite selected of the people. I just want to know why she is in the contest if she does not like Maxon. I had a feeling there was something mysterious about her.

I wasn’t a big fan of the writing. When I was reading the novel, I felt it was more like a fan fiction. I felt that there was more description and not enough dialogue. I was disappointed that the girls did not really have to compete with each other. What I mean to say is that, I felt that the girls were just there. I thought there were going to be contests to win dates, not just lessons on royalty. I wished that the author would have described the relevant girls more. I really felt that there was focus on only four girls: Kris, Marlee, America, and Celeste. Hopefully in the sequel, the author writes more about the six chosen girls left remaining. I was a bit shocked that the prince eliminated so many girls after the rebel attacked the palace. I hope that there is more information about why the Kingdom of Illea has enemies. So far, there are two rebel groups, the Northerners and the Southerners. The Northerners raid the palace more, but are seeking an object or weapon (it has not been revealed yet), while the Southerners are more brutal and violent. I forgot to mention that the book is supposed to be a dystopian. I heard some people call it Hunger Games meets the Bachelor, but I feel its more like the Bachelor because the girls aren’t forced to kill one another like the Hunger Games. Besides, America singer is no Katniss nor a political symbol to overthrow the government. Somehow this book did remind me of Cinderella in a way. Girl goes from poverty and wins the heart of the prince, basically Cinderella. Lastly, I hope the author explains why there are caste systems, and how they were formed. I’m pretty positive that America be the one to win the Selection competition. I’m still going to finish the trilogy, and luckily I’ve stayed away from spoilers on Tumblr. The book is a bit predictable, but I was entertained nonetheless and I can’t wait to read The Elite.

Final Rating: 👑👑👑