The Winner's Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime

byMarie Rutkoski

Hardcover | March 3, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info

$24.13 online 
$26.99 list price save 10%
Earn 121 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Following your heart can be a crime

A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It 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 about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For 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.

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Winner's Curse, The Shadow Society, and the Kronos Chronicles, which includes The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in New York City.
Title:The Winner's CrimeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 8.55 × 5.83 × 1.33 inPublished:March 3, 2015Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374384703

ISBN - 13:9780374384708


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Second book syndrome As always with the second book in a trilogy, this was not as good as the first one, but still great! Worth reading if you liked the first one for sure.
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as Enjoyable Rated: 2.5 This novel was less adventure, more politics. How Arin and Kestrel wind their way through society and how it impacts their relationship. I found some of the parts frustrating to read, as there is definitely a lack of communication between the two. Well, hopefully the next novel will be better.
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good, sad ending! Really great book! Ends on a sad note but there's the last one to look forward to!
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from meh It was okay. A decent continuation of the story, keeping up the action, romance, and general drama that happened in the first book. However, it is pretty confusing and hard to follow the storyline. It's also sometimes difficult to tell from the beginning of the chapter whether it's Arin's or Kestrel's POV.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Downhill Alrighty then! So, for what I gained in interest from the first book, I rapidly lost in the second. Things did not get any more interesting or less annoying for me, and thus, I only made it about 50% through the book before deciding to close it, chuck it aside, and move on. Really, I had to talk myself into continuing to read this about four chapters in and, once someone continuously has to force themselves into reading something, I think it's safe to say that the better option is to just put the book down. I uphold my previous opinion of this series: unoriginal, uninteresting, uncompelling, etc. Not bad, per se, but mediocre for someone who's looking for originality in what they read. Boy meets girl (or vice-versa), they fall in love, oh no they can't be together, they try anyway, they deny their feelings, a misunderstanding occurs, but somehow despite all this they get their happy ending. The end. In plainest terms, I'm not in the mood to continue reading through a series that follows this basic pattern
Date published: 2018-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EVEN BETTER! Gosh, so I finished this while I was at school and gosh I was on the verge of tears after this ending!!! ARGH I just couldn't believe it... Anyways this is a continuation of Arin and Kestrel's journey and its just got a whole load more complicated since she is now at the imperial palace... I can't wait to get my hands on Winner's Kiss!!!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even better than the first! Holy. Hell. The Winner's Crime was exhausting to read, but in the best way possible. It's a heartbreaking continuation of Kestrel and Arin's story, where every choice is an impossible one, taking another piece of their sanity each time. This sequel was even better than the first. It focused more on their epic romance (or perhaps impossibility of it) and how interwoven it is with the fates of their nations. I want so badly for Kestrel and Arin to have some kind of happy ending because Jesus, this hurts to read. I waited way too long to read this series and I'm so happy that the final book is coming out next month because it would be completely torturous to have to wait a whole year.
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow. Holy. Hell. The Winner's Crime was exhausting to read, but in the best way possible. It's a heartbreaking continuation of Kestrel and Arin's story, where every choice is an impossible one, taking another piece of their sanity each time. This sequel was even better than the first. It focused more on their epic romance (or perhaps impossibility of it) and how interwoven it is with the fates of their nations. I want so badly for Kestrel and Arin to have some kind of happy ending because Jesus, this hurts to read. I waited way too long to read this series and I'm so happy that the final book is coming out next month because it would be completely torturous to have to wait a whole year.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Sequel Even better than the first!
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Sequel! Soooo much better than the first book so much more angst and world building
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Sequel I absolutely love this series. It picks up significantly with the second book and was exciting and interesting. The characters are increasingly interesting and the ending makes me so excited to read the next one.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Picks up after the first book This picks up right after the first book and oh boy does it pick up in a wonderful way. Krestal is now playing a dangerous game with helping rebels while literally under the roof of the Emperor. We get to see just how much she's willing to risk and there's so much on the line for her this time around. I like the introduction of new characters and the changing perspectives from Krestal to Arin because it gives a bigger picture of what's really happening in this world and how it can absolutely lead to war if only one person slips up. The ending is pure evil but it definitely sets up for what seems like a promising end to the trilogy!
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Solid Sequel but Didn't Live up to Expectations The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski is a stunning, fast-paced trilogy loaded with action, political intrigue and romance. Taking place in the conquered territory of the Empire, The Winner’s Trilogy follows the stories of Kestrel, the daughter of the General who conquered the Herrani people, and Arin, a Herrani slave who seeks to reinstate his once proud people as the rulers of their own lands. Following the events at the end of The Winner’s Curse, Kestrel finds herself tied up in the Empire’s twisted court without a friend in sight, while Arin struggles to support his people against the growing oppression of the Empire. Kestrel is unfamiliar with the games at court, but she refuses to concede defeat – even if it means sacrificing her own freedom and happiness to do so. Arin, for his part, isn’t ready to give up on Kestrel, believing that there is more to her decisions than he understands. Both quickly find themselves drowning in a game they don’t understand, up against impossible odds and daunting dangers. Then, Kestrel discovers a shocking secret that changes everything – even her own allegiance. While I didn’t love The Winner’s Crime as much as a loved The Winner’s Curse, it was certainly a well-written book, riddled with the same political intrigue, romance and adventure as its predecessor. Unfortunately, as I had suspected, Kestrel and Jess’ friendship all but vanished in this book, with Rutkoski completing dropping the narrative of a female friendship. But Kestrel’s loss of Jess’ friendship was more than that – it symbolizes her fall from grace, her choice to turn her back on her people, who she now understands to be wrong. Kestrel and Arin’s romance/relationship was also complicated in this one – (view spoiler). Kestrel’s choice, and her subsequent fate at the end of this book lead me to believe there’s more to come for the two star-crossed lovers though. Finally, I just wanted to add that I was glad that Rutkoski avoided the love triangle trope here- she had the opportunity to throw it in, what with Kestrel’s imminent marriage, but instead chose to have everyone remain faithful to their existing relationships. Overall, The Winner’s Curse was a good book; Rutkoski avoided some cliche YA tropes, while creating an engaging plot filled to the brim with intrigue and danger (3.5/5).
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Second Book! I loved this one even more than the 1st in the series! Can be a little sad, and the ending made me want to immediately pick up the third book!
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book truly wins This book is a winner right from the start. Such an engaging story set in an amazing and magical setting.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Sequel This book was wonderful. It was everything that made the first book great, with the angst turned up to ten. There were moments that I was frustrated with it but overall it was wonderful and I am mad that I don't have the third book in my hand right now.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I need book 3 ASAP! This book was so heartbreaking but intriguing. These characters make you go on a roller coaster. I love were this one takes place. If you liked book 1, you will love this!
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! This was a great follow up to the Winner's Curse, it had me on my toes the whole time. This book was so frustrating but so good and the ending just killed me. I had to start on the next book right after!
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from disappointed I've never before recognized this or used it in a review, but I completely understand "Second Book Syndrome" now. I can't say that I didn't like the book but, for me, it felt like nothing much happened. There was a lot of drawn out angst and what seemed to be very silly mistakes made by someone who is supposed to be highly intelligent. I cannot see the Kestrel I got to know in Book 1 being ruled by her heart to this extent. I was also quite disappointed in the ending. It's a fine ending, but the way it was written made it feel very much like a set-up for the last book, perhaps because it's almost exactly the way the first book was written (plodding along then a bit of excitement/twist thrown in at the end). It feels a little manipulative, but then again that's something I really enjoy when I am completely invested in the characters. Honestly, I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something in the writing or sequencing of events that made it feel like something was missing. I will take a little break and then read Book 3 to see how things end with Kestrel and Arin. I know Book 3 has very high reviews so hopefully they will redeem themselves.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Need the Next Book Now This book was amazing! Never thought that a sequel could be so good. I was captured by it from the very first line. Love it!!!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Heartache is Worth it This book has invisible hooks that held me down from the moment I opened up to page one. I was hooked! And those hooks did not let me go until I’ve turned to the end of the book. The Winner's Crime was so damn good! Full of bittersweet moments I could not get enough of Marie Rutkoski's writing. Her exquisite words made the story flow beautifully. Every part of The Winner's Crime was addictive. The story does not stop. The actions do not let up. The emotions do not recede. When I got to the end of the book, I did not want to leave Valoria. I was wholly invested in the world and what fate awaited our heroine. I couldn't stop thinking about this book days after reading it! From the moment Kestrel agreed to marry the prince, she became a pawn in the emperor’s game. It's one hell of a dangerous game but she played it well. I believed in Kestrel even when she was skeptical herself. Despite her worries and fears, whenever she spoke, she exuded courage and certainty. Her words were compelling. I wanted to give her a hug for how hard she fought to hold onto her sanity. Even with the emperor breathing down her neck she held strong. It was pure anguish watching her withhold the truth from Arin. I'd have been bursting to tell him. Arin was kind of a tool in this book. He was rude, inconsiderate and even hurtful. I wished he could've been more mature but given the circumstances (seeing the girl you love with someone else), I forgave him. The thing that happens to him was painful to read. Hasn't he been through enough? His side trip was unexpected but a welcome change of scenery from all the threats and deceits at the Valorian court. I only hope his new friends will stand by his side when the time comes. Kestrel's friendship with Jess and Ronan paled in the grand scheme of things. I did not care for them. I felt like they were so narrow-minded and too filled with preconceived hatred. They couldn't get pass their own judging nature to stand by Kestrel's side when she most needed them. I say good riddance for them to be out of her life. Towards the last few pages of the book I may have been screaming NO non-stop. I was pacing like an anxious animal. That ending was devastating. Pure torture. That betrayal is one that's hard for me to swallow. I just don’t understand how this person could do this to Kestrel. In many ways, it’s worse than losing Arin. My heart shattered for the poor girl. I feel like this is something you don’t recover from easily so it will be most interesting to see how Kestrel will overcome this betrayal. This is a series full of feelings. Ones that will dig deep and hold every part of you in tension. It will especially grip hard at your heart. I welcomed all of those emotions though because The Winner's Crime is that good! The waiting for the last book is unbearable but I'm glad I read this one. Like everyone else who's waiting, I'll be devouring The Winner's Kiss as soon as I get my hands on a copy!
Date published: 2016-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After The Winner's Curse was my favourite read in 2014, and so I had high hopes for its sequel. Never fear - The Winner's Crime was a perfect follow up, and it was just as stunning and intense as its predecessor. Reasons to Read: 1. An emotional roller coaster: My heart could barely handle the events in The Winner's Curse, so you can imagine that I was already feeling a bit anxious reading The Winner's Crime. But it takes a very special story to make me feel this way, as I rarely feel as invested in the outcome of a book as I do with this one! I love these characters, and I desperately want things to turn out well for them! 2. Extra world building: I'm a believer that a great fantasy book is built on a foundation of strong world building. In The Winner's Curse, this was well-done but we only saw the tip of the iceberg. The world is further developed in this story, as we see more of Valoria. 3. Kestrel walks a fine line: Kestrel truly showcases her talents and intelligence as she delicately walks a fine line between two sides. She's so aware of the dilemma at hand, and how she refuses to let others control her. This puts her in a dangerous position, as she encounters other characters who may be able to outwit her careful plans. Kestrel risks so much, and for very little in return - so much of her character is revealed by her willingness to sacrifice. ARC received from publisher for review as part of a blog tour; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2015-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This Series Just KILLS Me! Well, to say I am flabbergasted and so frustrated at the same time would be an understatement. This book slayed me. It slowly sucked me in, got me sort of okay with what was happening and then completely demolished every hope I had for these characters. Rutkoski stepped up her game from The Winner’s Curse and considering I thought that book was brilliant means a lot. She kept the gorgeous appeal of the court and beautiful dresses, but she threw in so much deceit and conniving behaviours, secret rendezvous and steamy moments (ehem, the balcony ;)) that never felt fully fulfilled. Everything about this damn book was flawless. The lack of communication between Kestrel and Arin in this book was frustrating beyond belief but the impact it had on every single moment was packed full of meaning and emotion. I was screaming and clutching at this book, yelling at the characters to just freaking talk and be honest with each other, but where would be the drama in that? No where, and no one wants to read a book that is perfectly freaking happy. The need I feel to have The Winner’s Kiss in my hands at this exact moment is strong, and I want to smack Marie Rutkoski for leaving this book the way she did. It was brilliant and frustrating beyond belief and it was simply perfect. Read this series people. You don’t know what you are missing out on in YA High Fantasy if you don’t.
Date published: 2015-02-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enthralling, captivating, and brutal The Winner's Crime is enthralling, captivating, and brutal. Now comes the dark politics, the plots and plans that come out of and lead into war. The inescapable stranglehold of a cruel ruler who will not let anyone stand in his way. Again, Kestrel and Arin are trapped. Even more so by their own doing. She was the one who went to the emperor, saving lives but condemning herself to becoming his puppet. He was the one who wouldn't read between the lines, who took her at face value, who believed she used her intelligence and cunning against him. They need each other but they cannot trust each other. They refuse to. All they remember is the hurt and suffering the other caused. But trust is what will save them. Deception and deceit, spies and secrets, they all drip from each page, leaving the truth to be a subtle thing, tucked into each word. Waiting to be uncovered. What is the cost of winning? Should everyone whose lives will change pay the price, or just the person who started it? The war between the Valorian and the Herrani has ended, but it is not over. The emperor will not stop until everyone is under his thumb, paying tribute and obeying his orders. His is an experienced and highly intelligent kind of cruelty, one carefully crafted. It will not be easy for Kestrel and Arin to battle against him. How strange it is to read a tragic love story when each of them find that their falling in love is the worst thing that could have happened. And how intriguing it is to see both of them battle between emotion and duty with duty winning. It's clear that they love each other, that they both want nothing more but to escape to where no one knows their names, but they cannot. The entire world is working against them. This second book is even more perilous and dangerous than the first. The conclusion is sure to have the biggest, most painful surprise of them all.
Date published: 2015-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Twisty and Emotional! This book has my emotions in a swirl! I am so torn after reading it that I need to know what is going to happen next!! Marie Rutkoski knows how to hook you into this amazing fantasy that the work was even more expanded that we got to see beyond what was happening. The chemistry and story was even more amazing that I thought it was better than the first book! Kestrel is a character who doesn't think of the consequences of her decisions. Especially when Arin is involved. Her love for him blinds her from the truth that she is not thinking the ways she usually does. Kestrel's character development grows as now she is engaged to the Prince of Valoria. Getting back into Arin point of view was interesting because you can see that he was still broken up about Kestrel leaving him, but he knows that she loves him, even though she won't admit it. But they are both reckless as well since many other minor characters die for their mistakes. But their chemistry was through the roof!! I had butterflies in my stomach during some scenes. The friendship with Jess, has been rough since what was seen in The Winner's Curse. Jess is mad at Kestrel or even warned her about what was happening. But she has become broken and she doesn't trust herself around Kestrel or her family. The Winner's Crime had more torture that both Kestrel and Arin face throughout the book. She even learns the downfalls of becoming an Empress and how she is playing a game. Rutkoski has a way of making you understand the characters and I read it so fast that I never wanted it to end! I loved this book so much! Pre-order this book immediately because it was phenonmal and it will look amazing on the shelf next to The Winner's Curse. Marie Rutkoski is one author to look out for because of the amazing plot and characters that she has created. It was twisty and full of emotion that it can possibly make you cry. It feels like you are literally sucked into the story and have a book hangover by the end of the book. Now I need The Winner's Kiss (2016) is soo far away!!
Date published: 2015-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE I rather enjoyed this one more so than the first one. The world is expanded and we get to see so much more world building which is what I think was lacking in The Winner's Curse. Though I still find Kestrel to dive into things head first with not thinking. Especially when it came to Arin.. Her love for him blinded her so much she couldn't think straight. I did love that we get to see more of the world though. Too bad the ARC didn't have the map. The one thing that really bothered me so much is that BOTH Kestrel and Arin are very reckless.. So many people die for their mistakes.. It astounds me how many people they have affected. Those families lives and everything else that came after the repercussions of their decisions. I do have to remark that I can understand their chemistry now. It's a slow torturous build and it works nicely within the story. Though like I said, her love for him makes her completely blind to everything else. And maybe that's what Rutkoski is getting at, that love itself is blind to everything else but that person, so you're not thinking logically at all. I hope she goes through a big change in the last book. On her friendship with Jess, I can wholly understand why Jess is mad. I didn't understand why she never warned her own best friend. I know she believed she was trying to save her, but she's also so much more broken now. Not only herself, but her family. The one scene that really gets to me is when Kestrel witnesses torture.. What it means to be Empress, how the game she's playing is going to affect everyone. I love that part. Another scene that I remember so well is when Arin creates a weapon that will change the world..It made me cringe that this is exactly how it did happen. That the person who created the weapon was thinking of killing people at a more efficient pace. I just couldn't bear to think that it's one of the worst inventions ever made by humanity. Overall, I love this one so much more. For its creative characters who aren't perfect and are so tortured, to the world that has many different cultures who all just want to survive. Read this one right now!
Date published: 2015-01-09

Editorial Reviews

"The cliffhanger ending of this second installment guarantees an anxious audience for the arrival of the third book." -BCCB"Rutkoski's well-written prose is sumptuous . . . The shocking ending will leave readers hungry for the sequel." -VOYA"The Winner's Crime teeters on a knife-sharp edge between devastatingly romantic one moment and simply devastating the next. Marie Rutkoski has captivated me with her world of mind games, power struggles, and espionage, and left me positively desperate to see how Kestrel and Arin's story will play out." -Marissa Meyer, New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles series"Brilliant plotting and absolutely gorgeous writing combine to make The Winner's Crime a standout, but it is the complex, deeply layered characters with their gut wrenching dilemmas and impossible choices that cracked my heart wide open. It left me breathless and craving more--I don't know how I will be able to wait for the final book. A truly unforgettable read!" -Robin LaFevers, New York Times-bestselling author of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph"The twisty plot is a cleverly constructed puzzle box of intrigue and deceit, couched in graceful prose that shifts from restrained to voluptuous. The diversity both between and within the various cultures suggests a richly detailed world; yet as the fate of peoples, kingdoms and empires hangs in the balance, the conflict plays out at the most intimate personal level in the reluctant, dangerous, impossible attraction between Kestrel and Arin . . . As positions harden and blood is shed, their destruction at each other's hands looms ever more certain; but a desperate hope that somehow disaster can be averted propels readers to the final devastating page, leaving only the excruciating wait for the sequel. Enthralling, agonizing and incandescent." -Starred review/Kirkus Reviews