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.
I picked up this book directly after reading number 1, and I am so glad I did. I’m now waiting for book 3 to come from the library, and ughhh, I need it right now!
Kestrel is just as amazing as before, maybe even more so this time. She’s so in love with Arin, it’s clear to everyone, but this certainly isn’t a romance book. She’s so tough, and I love it. Of course she wants to be with him, but she goes out of her way to make sure nothing happens between them. This involves a lot of pain for Arin, and I do feel sorry for him, but I’m too busy wanting to congratulate Kestrel for being so tough to worry about it.
It’s hurting her as well, and we know it’s hurting her, which just makes her actions even more amazing. It does break my heart, but mostly I’m just so happy that we’ve got this character who is fighting to do the right thing, and not being a selfish protagonist like we get in basically every other book. Arin, on the other hand, isn’t picking up any of her hints, and gets upset every time she tries to be tough. Literally. Every. Time. It’s not really his fault, but it would be nice if he could work out some of what she was doing. It would make Kestrel’s life a whole lot easier.
We were introduced to new settings and characters in this book, hooray! Arin goes on a trip to ‘the east’, and I found myself really loving that place. There was so much backstory for the family he was with, and it all connected really nicely with Valoria. I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, but I found my heart breaking a bit for this family. The setting was explained amazingly too, so I loved that! I can really see myself there with Arin, which is very appreciated from a reader’s point of view.
Kestrel still had a very interesting time while Arin was away, don’t worry. The emperor is tricky, and she had no idea what she was doing when it came to him. He was five steps ahead of her all the time, and Kestrel was dumb enough to believe they were on an even playing field. She tried to be tricky as well, but she was so out of her depth. The emperor is the emperor for a reason – he knows all about political power games, and he knows how to win them. So when the ending came around… Don’t get me wrong, I was shocked. Yes, I was angry. But was I surprised that it didn’t go according to Kestrel’s plans? Well, not entirely.
Seriously, THE ENDING THOUGH. I NEED BOOK 3 IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW.
Basically, this series is still amazing. I wasn’t as blown away as I was by book 1, maybe just because I was expecting the awesomeness that is this series. Still absolutely phenomenal though, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 3!