Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Book two of The Winner's Curse trilogy
I love the writing. I was tearing through the pages, eager to find out where the story was going and continuously being surprised with the twists that it takes. Marie has a way of writing that renders you unable to put this book aside. It captures you and accelerates you through the chapters.
The worldbuilding (or lack of) was a problem for a lot of people in the first book but I feel that it's improved upon a lot here. We get to explore other areas outside of Herran which really helps to expand our knowledge of the world. Kestrel is living in the emperor's palace in the capital which gives us more of an insight into the country's high society. Arin also travels to the East where we finally meet the queen and learn more of the geographical and political features of this area.
The emperor is a true convincing villain. He reminded me of President Snow in The Hunger Games in that he's determined to control Kestrel using any means he can including killing those who get close to her. He oozes evilness and I loved Kestrel's fierceness and refusal to bow down to him. She once again demonstrated her great intellect and that she's a great strategist.
Kestrel isn't a clean cut heroine either and I love that. She doesn't always make decisions that you agree with and she doesn't have an easy ride. She does what she has to to protect herself which is sometimes to the detriment of others.
The relationship between Kestrel and Arin is still one that I just love. But it is so unbelievably frustrating! Arin's stubbornness and inability to open his eyes and his mind to see what is really going on is so frustrating. Rutkoski is a complete tease; constantly dangling the big reveal in front of us only to snatch it away again. I was begging for Arin to figure the truth out. Every time you think it's going to happen, a spanner is thrown in the works. It's torture.
The ending is shocking and devastating. It is an astonishing act of betrayal. Rutkoski is a mastermind at creating a good ending.
I cannot wait to see where this story goes next.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.