The Winner's Crime
Most people thought this was better than the first book, but I'm on the fence.
It was definitely as entertaining as the first (at least to me). It didn't take long to read because the end of each chapter made you want to keep reading more.
This book was definitely more political than the first, which I liked. It had more of a built-up tension that happens leading to war, and much less romance (kind of).
We left off with the treaty & Kestrel agreeing to marry the Imperial Prince.
I'm usually all for angst, but there's a difference between worrying about your land & people, and pining for a girl EVERY TWO SECONDS. We get it, you're thinking about Kestrel but don't want to think about Kestrel but maybe she changed her mind and maybe she did this because of this, etc.... just stop!! It also bugged me that both Arin and Kestrel seemed to 'know' when they were near each other... it makes no sense and just seemed completely unnecessary. Also, the prose was more pronounced in this one than I remember the last being. I'm all about beautiful wording, but this was a little too much and seemed like it was trying too hard. The metaphors didn't make much sense, and were placed sporadically.
It felt like the entire book Arin was trying to guess Kestrel's motives for every little thing she did.
I enjoyed Kestrel, for the most part, but certain things about her still made me mad. Such as her loyalty to shitty people and STUPID mistakes. This girl is super clever and able to come up with ideas at the drop of a hat, but she makes the stupidest mistakes.
The emperor just seems like a big bad wolf, I wish there was more depth to his character than just the evil power-hungry leader.
Overall, it was okay and I'm still excited to read the next book to find out what happens, but it was not the 'winner' I was expecting.