Book Review – The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Hi everyone!

Picking up The Winner’s Crime, I had very mixed emotions. I quite enjoyed The Winner’s Curse (the ending saved it) but I had my doubts as to where the second novel would be heading, whether Marie Rutkoski would be able to keep me hooked and manage all the intricacies I could see coming for this next book. The last book had just come out so I hinged my hopes and read The Winner’s Crime.

the winner's crime


Author: Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Paperback: 400 pages

Published: Bloomsbury, March 3rd 2015

Series: The Winner’s Series Book #2


*No synopsis due to spoilers however, the review is spoiler free.*


MA GAWD THIS BOOK! I woke up this morning and read it for four straight hours until I’d finished it. If I was unsure about this series before, I am completely sold now. Let’s break it all down.

Similar to Glass Sword, I decided to not re-read The Winner’s Curse and refresh my memory before picking up this one but I found it remarkably easy to get it all flooding back. Marie Rutkoski did a fabulous job of just adding the slightest bit of re-cap into the beginning without having a full summary. And there wasn’t a single part in this opening that felt bored or disinterested. I was hooked from the very first page.

One of my favourite parts of The Winner’s Crime was the character development. In the first book, my main problem was the characters. I felt disconnected from them and frustrated with some of their decisions. But in this book it all changed and they flourished into likable characters you couldn’t help but root for. Kestrel became more resolute in her decisions and her loyalties became much clearer. Of course, her ability to strategise, figure things out, manipulate people and twist gossip and rumours impressed me and always kept me entertained. But I also think we got to see a much more emotional side of Kestrel which allowed me to see her true colours and like her personality more rather than just what she did.

The same happened with Arin. In this book he spoke his mind more and we saw him in a setting that allowed his personality to shine through. The way he was being pulled side to side and his leadership was fantastic to read about. I’m so looking forward to what he does in book 3.

I also found the plot to be more gripping. Rutkoski sure knows how to weave in twists and turns and create a scene to rip your heart out or warm it to no end. I think the setting of this book contributed the most to me finding the plot so great. I loved the slave/upper-class dynamic even more and thought that the miscommunication elements were well-done enough so that I didn’t become annoyed by them. All those glimpsing, short scenes really added up and created the bigger picture, like brushstrokes on a landscape.

The world was also fleshed out more. We get more culture and history and are introduced to a whole new city. The barbarian/civilised aspects are so fascinating! You never read stories where the less-civilised nation overthrows and takes control over a developed culture. So awesome.

Rutkoski’s writing is so absorbing. Each word seems basic and normal but when you see the sentence, a deep meaning slaps you in the face. She immerses you in the characters’ feelings and world around them masterfully.

There isn’t a negative that I can think of for this book. It was stunning. Speaking of, the ending of this book was a totally inhumane thing to do. I can tell already that a whole new thing is about to be brought to this series from that ending. Luckily, I’ve got The Winner’s Kiss ready to go!

Overall, a step in the right direction from Marie Rutkoski. 4-dimensional characters, court intrigue and politics to fascinate you and a page-flipping plot that leaves you speechless.

I gave The Winner’s Crime:


If any of you have read this book, let me know what you thought. Do you agree with me or not? Or have I convinced any of you to give this series a go? Let me know!

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you in my next post!


Twitter: @liamslibrary83      Goodreads: Liamo’d       Instagram: @liamslibrary


6 thoughts on “Book Review – The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

  1. That ending though! 😥 But you’re going to really enjoy The Winner’s Kiss! There are some slow moments (like how there were ones in The Winner’s Curse) but overall there are some really WONDERFUL scenes. And I loved how you mentioned that in this installment there were more fleshed out characters and world construction happening. I agree, Kestrel really shined in this one for me as well. Awesome review, Liam! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god, it was such a shocker! Luckily I read it when the last book was already out so my heart didn’t fall out of my chest. And umm…I’m kind of already over 200 pages into The Winner’s Kiss. I couldn’t help myself! It’s so great so far. For sure, you get to know the true Kestrel so much better. Thanks Summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, YES YES YES. I’m so glad you liked it (but then I again, I am yet to find someone who didn’t completely adore the second instalment of The Winner’s Trilogy!). You should try rereading, because I swear this book makes you love the second one even more!! Kestrel and Arin are the most precious people I’ve ever read about (second only to Day and June from Legend), and you’re completely right, that ending was the most inhumane thing to do! Wonderful review! 🙂


    1. Yes I’ll definitely give this series a re-read in the future (once I’ve forgotten a lot of things) and appreciate the books more now that I can comprehend the full story and characters. Aww yes, those two developed so much in this book. The tension was so amazing haha!
      Thanks so much 🙂


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