March is hear, roaring in like a lion, and to mark March, I have a read that is going to grab you, hold you hostage and then punch you in the gut at the end. I am talking about the second book in an outstanding series by author Marie Rutkoski. The book is The Winner's Crime. Have you read this fantastic series yet? If you haven't, I urge you to do so. It is a mesmerizing tale of forbidden love, treachery, rebellion, and standing up for what is right. I am a big fan of this series, and I cannot wait for the next book. I am getting ahead of myself, though. I am honored to be a participant in the promotional tour for The Winner's Crime. For the tour, I am supposed to answer a tough question posed by Ms. Rutkoski. Here is the question:
The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price. What would you pay too much for?
After thinking about this, it wasn't too hard to answer. For me, the thing that I wouldn't mind paying too high of a price for is good health for myself, my husband and my children. As I am growing older and wiser (at least I'd like to think so) I have continued to be blessed with good health, but after an incident last Fall with my son, I realize what a gift being healthy really is. Our son woke up one morning with what seemed like a routine illness, my daughter, Risa, and I were just getting over being sick so I wasn't worried. Within a couple of hours his breathing became labored and I called the doctor. The told me to watch him, but within a half an hour he was worse so I rushed him to the doctor. They took one look at him, put him on oxygen, gave him inhalers and called the ambulance. Long story short, my son spent four days in the hospital with some type of respiratory infection. Whether it was the flu, the enterovirus or something else, we will never know. The experience was terrifying and humbling. Thankfully, he made a quick and full recovery and there are no lasting effects. The following week was Thanksgiving, and I was never so grateful for good health for all of us as I was that week. So for me, the simple answer is good health. I don't think you can set to high a price on being healthy.
Now my completely selfish answer would be lots more quiet time to read and enjoy all the books I have been meaning to read. With two children, I am lucky some days to steal away and use the bathroom in peace and quiet. I shouldn't complain, because they will be grown up in the blink of an eye... but still some days, more quiet reading time would be fantastic.
What about you all, what would pay too much for?
About the author:
Marie Rutkoski is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Winner’s Curse (March 2014). She grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois as the oldest of four children and decided early on that she was Someone Who Loved Books.
After attending the University of Iowa and living in Moscow and Prague, she studied Shakespeare at Harvard University, where she honed her skill in referring to herself in the third person.
Marie is now a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance drama, children’s literature, and fiction writing. New York City is her home, and she thinks there must be birds of prey living in Washington Square Park; she can see large, wheeling wings from the window where she sits and writes. Marie has two small sons who try very hard to make friends with the family cat, only to be snubbed for the dark quiet of a closet. Marie can tie a double figure-eight knot with her eyes closed. She’s learning how to play the violin. She’s a sucker for fancy tea, and her favorite dessert is crème brulée. Or maybe sticky toffee pudding. Tough call.Find Marie: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.
Now the best part, as part of the tour, I am able to offer the chance to win their choice of either a copy of The Winner's Crime or The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter after reading Contest Policies.
Here is my review:
The Winner's Crime (Winner's Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski
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.Hardcover, 416 pages
Four and a half stars: The stakes are higher, the danger greater and the finale is torture!
Kestrel spends her days entrenched in the Emperor's court. As the prince's fiancé, she is expected to serve the Emperor, but the longer she stays at court, the more Kestrel realizes the ugly truth. The Emperor has no intention of letting Herron thrive, and Kestrel feels compelled to help, even if that means spying. Soon Kestrel is caught in a deadly game of cat and mice with an opponent who is more powerful than Kestrel ever imagined. Can Kestrel save herself and her former home or will she be the Emperor's pawn?
What I Liked:
- Once again I was impressed. The Winner's Crime raises the stakes and puts Kestrel on a new dangerous and deadly path. I liked watching her use her guile and cunning to try and outwit the Emperor. The suspense is top notch and the ending is absolutely a stunner! No second book syndrome here.
- I was impressed with Kestrel's growth. In this book, she is far removed from the pampered and naive girl we first met in book one. This time around, she is the future daughter in law of the Emperor, and she is expected to behave a certain way. Kestrel has other ideas, and she is constantly looking to outwit the Emperor, until she realizes the danger of her actions. Her maturation is impressive, and I admired her courage and tenacity. Not to mention, she is forced to learn a few hard lessons about personal sacrifice and sacrifice for the greater good. She is caught between a rock and a hard place, but she doesn't lose her wits.
- This book is a page turner with its suspense. The reader is plunged into the deadly court atmosphere where no one be trusted. Losing favor with the Emperor is death. As the book wore on, you could feel the vice tighten as things got more and more dangerous, all leading up to an ending that is absolutely brutal. If you like novels with high stakes, lots of plotting and danger, and a startling twist at the end, you will love this one.
- The romance is for the most part out of the picture in this second book, which surprisingly I liked. Instead the book focuses on the growth and maturation of both Kestrel and Arin. I was pleased that the romance took a back seat and that the book focused on other things. I am certain, though, that the romance will be back in the main picture next time out.
- The ending is absolutely brutal. I hate cliffhangers, but this one was brilliantly plotted out and executed. So even though I was completely stunned, I thought it was fitting.
And The Not So Much:
- I was a bit disappointed in Arin this time out. He was so strong and assertive in the first book, and this time around, I felt like he was wallowing in his personal misery which led him to make some questionable decisions. He didn't capture me in this one, like he did the first time out, and I wasn't as invested in his story line. Granted, he comes around at the end, and I am expecting him to be back in form for the finale.
- I hated the stupid decision that Kestrel made at the end. Knowing everything that she knew, I couldn't believe that she acted so brashly. Her mistake cost her dearly.
- I didn't like the transitions. This book is told through Kestrel's and Arin's view points, and often the voice switches in the next paragraph without indication there is a shift. I read an Advanced Reading Copy so this may be corrected in the final edition, but as it stands, the transitions are rough and choppy. I also didn't like how rapidly the narration changed back and forth.
The Winner's Crime is a stunning sequel that rises above second book syndrome. This book doesn't hold back and at times it is brutal. Prepare yourself for danger, treachery and a jaw dropping cliffhanger of an ending. If you are a fan of this series, this book shouldn't disappoint, and if you haven't yet plunged into this world, what are you waiting for? The Winner's Curse Series is smart, sophisticated and brilliant. Get it now!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Don't miss the first book in the series, The Winner's Curse:
To see the rest of the tour click here.
A huge thanks to the folks over at Macmillan Publishing for allowing me to participate in this tour.