Friday, November 21, 2014

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski ARC Pre-Review




Hey All,
Thanks for stopping by my Pre-Review of THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski. Let me start off by saying, I LOVED this book SO FREAKING MUCH!! But, unfortunately, not as much as book one. But I have VERY good reasons why. I don't want to voice them now—it's too early. But I still wanted to give some input on my opinion of THE WINNER'S CRIME, without writing my full review too early. So, I decided to use the images and feelings I added to goodreads immediately after reading THE WINNER'S CRIME. So please excuse me if their a little dramatic, in which they definitely are, but I still feel them!! Anyways, if you want some intense input on TWC, (Without Spoilers ;) then read my review and get a feel of what I felt! :)







The winner's crime






The Winner's Crime
The Winner's Crime 
Marie Rutkoski
(The Winner's Trilogy #2)
Published: March 3rd, 2015
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16718816-control
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.
{AMAZON} {BARNES & NOBLE} {iTUNES} {INDIE BOUND} {GOOGLE BOOKS} {BOOKS-A-MILLION


Check out my review of Book One, THE WINNER'S CURSE HERE




The Winner's Trilogy

The Winner's CurseThe Winner's Crime  



The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)





I found this red cover of TWC on goodreads and LOVED it. So I figured I would show it off in this post, for the ones who haven't seen it yet. I'm still debating on which one I like more. Probably the blue cover, only because I feel it matches better with the background. But I love the fierce red dress. I wouldn't mind seeing it in the next book cover. Through I think after reading this book, that they'll make it a little more fierce, deadly, no nonsense outfit. No hints here! ;)



NOTE:
THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW, THIS IS MY PRE-REVIEW. I WILL HAVE A FULL REVIEW CLOSER TO THE RELEASE DATE.



THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME THE WINNER'S CRIME...

THAT ENDING TORE ME TO SHREDS. IT DUG IN DEEP AND RIPPED MY HEART OUT!! AND THE WHOLE TIME I WAS SCREAMING....



DON'T YOU REALIZE YOUR KILLING ME???



MY LOVE RAN SO DEEP.... I.... I....



AND... I CAN'T BELIEVE IT...



THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY ME??? TEARING MY HEART OUT WITH THAT ENDING???

(I MUST ADMIT, THE REST OF THE BOOK WAS EPICCCCCCC, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G)



DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH...



OKAY, OKAY, LETS KEEP IT REAL...



YOU, MARIE RUTKOSKI, ARE A PHENOMENAL STORY TELLER, I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THE REST OF THE SERIES, IT'S JUST THAT ENDING WAS TOO MUCH FOR MY HEART TO BARE, ESPECIALLY FOR ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR...



MY HEART WILL HEAL, AND I WILL LEARN TO TRUST YOU AGAIN, BUT AS OF TODAY...



I LOVE YOU THE WINNERS CRIME, EVEN YOUR HEART BREAKING ENDING!! I LOVE EVERY BIT OF YOU!!! 



THE WINNER'S CRIME
CHAPTER 1

THE WINNER'S CRIME
CHAPTER 1
She cut herself opening the envelope.
Kestrel had been eager, she’d been a fool, tearing into the letter simply because it had been addressed in Herrani script. The letter opener slipped. Seeds of blood hit the paper and bloomed bright.
It wasn’t, of course, from him. No, the letter was from Herran’s new minister of agriculture. He wrote to introduce himself, and to say he looked forward to when they would meet. I believe you and I have much in common and much to discuss, he wrote.
Kestrel wasn’t sure what he meant by that. She didn’t know him, or even of him. Although she supposed she would have to meet with the minister at some point—she was, after all, the imperial ambassador to the now independent territory of Herran—Kestrel didn’t anticipate spending time with the minister of agriculture. She had nothing to say on crop rotation or fertilizer.
Kestrel caught the haughty tone of her thoughts. She felt the way it thinned her mouth. She realized that she was furious at this letter.
At herself. At the way her heart had leaped to see her name scrawled in the Herrani alphabet. She had hoped so hard that the envelope was from Arin.
But she’d had no contact with him for nearly a month, not since she’d offered him his country’s freedom. And the envelope hadn’t even been addressed in his hand. She knew his writing. She knew the fingers that would hold the pen. Blunt-cut nails, silver scars from old burns, the calloused scrape of his palm, all very at odds with his elegant cursive. Kestrel should have known right away that the letter wasn’t from him.
But still: the quick slice of paper. Still: the disappointment.
Kestrel set aside the letter. She pulled the silk sash from her waist, threading it out from under the dagger that she, like all Valorians, wore strapped to her hip. She wound the sash around her bleeding hand. She was ruining the sash’s milky silk. Her blood spotted it. But a ruined sash didn’t matter, not to her. Kestrel was engaged to Prince Verex, heir to the Valorian empire. The proof of it was marked daily on her brow in an oiled, glittering line. She had sashes upon sashes, dresses upon dresses, a river of jewels. She was the future empress.
Yet when she stood from her carved ebony chair, she was unsteady. She looked around her study, one of many rooms in her suite, and was unsettled by the stone walls, the corners set insistently into perfect right angles, the way two narrow hallways cut into the room. It should have made sense to Kestrel, who knew that the imperial palace was also a fortress. Tight hallways were a way to bottleneck an invading force. Yet it looked unfriendly and alien. It was so different from her home.
Kestrel reminded herself that her home in Herran had never really been hers. She may have been raised in that colony, but she was Valorian. She was where she was supposed to be. Where she had chosen to be.
The cut had stopped bleeding.
Kestrel left the letter and went to change her day dress for dinner. This was her life: rich fabric and watered silk trim. A dinner with the emperor . . . and the prince. Her fiancé.
Yes, this was her life.
She must get used to it.
---
The emperor was alone, and smiled when she entered his stone-walled dining room. His gray hair was cropped in the same military style as her father’s. His eyes were dark and keen. He didn’t stand from the long table to greet her.
“Your Imperial Majesty.” She bowed her head.
“Daughter.” His voice echoed in the vaulted chamber. It seemed to ring against the empty plates, the empty glasses. “Sit.”
She moved to do so.
“No,” he said. “Here, at my right hand.”
“That’s the prince’s place.”
“The prince, it seems, is not here.”
She sat. Slaves served the first course. They poured white wine as clear as water. She could have asked why he had summoned her to dinner, and where the prince might be, but Kestrel had seen how the emperor loved to shape silence into a tool that pried open the anxieties of others. She let the silence grow until it was of her making as well as his, and only when the third course arrived did she speak. “I hear the campaign against the east goes well.”
“So your father writes from the front. I must reward him for an excellently waged war. Or perhaps, Lady Kestrel, it’s you I should reward.”
She drank from her cup. “His success is none of my doing.”
“No? You urged me to put an end to the Herrani rebellion by giving that territory self-governance under my law. You argued that this would free up troops and money to fuel my eastern war, and lo”—he flourished a hand—“it did. What clever advice from one so young.”
His words made her nervous. If he knew the real reason she had argued for Herrani independence, she would pay for it. Kestrel tried the painstakingly prepared food. There were boats made from a meat terrine, their sails clear gelatin. She ate slowly.
“Don’t you like it?” said the emperor.
“I’m not very hungry.”
He rang a golden bell. “Dessert,” he told the serving boy who instantly appeared. “We’ll skip ahead to dessert. I know how young ladies enjoy sweet things.” But when the boy returned bearing two small plates made from porcelain so fine Kestrel could see light sheer through the rims, the emperor said, “None for me,” and one plate was set before Kestrel, along with a strangely light and translucent fork.
She calmed herself. The emperor didn’t know the truth about the day she had pushed for an end to the Herrani rebellion. No one did. Not even Arin knew that she had bought his freedom with a few strategic words . . . and the promise to wed the crown prince.
If Arin knew, he would fight it. He’d ruin himself.
If the emperor knew why she had done it, he would ruin her.
Kestrel looked at the pile of pink whipped cream on her plate, and at the clear fork, as if they composed the whole of her world. She must speak cautiously. “What need have I of a reward, when you have given me your only son?”
“And such a prize he is. Yet we’ve no date set for the wedding. When shall it be? You’ve been quiet on the subject.”
“I thought Prince Verex should decide.” If the choice were left to the prince, the wedding date would be never.
“Why don’t we decide?”
“Without him?”
“My dear girl, if the prince’s slippery mind cannot remember something so simple as the day and time of a dinner with his father and bride, how can we expect him to plan any part of the most important state event in decades?”
Kestrel said nothing.
“You’re not eating,” he said.
Kestrel sank the clear fork into the cream and lifted it to her mouth. The fork’s tines dissolved against her tongue. “Sugar,” she said with surprise. “The fork is made of hardened sugar.”
“Do you like the dessert?”
“Yes.”
“Then you must eat it all.” But how to fi nish the cream if the fork continued to dissolve each time she took a mouthful? Most of the fork remained in her hand, but it wouldn’t last.
A game. The dessert was a game, the conversation a game. The emperor wanted to see how she would play.
Or was it a game? Was thinking of it as a game a sign that she had already lost?
He said, “I think the end of this month would be ideal for a wedding.”
Kestrel ate more of the cream. The tines completely vanished, leaving something that resembled an aborted spoon. “A winter wedding? There will be no flowers.”
“You don’t need flowers.”
“If you know that young ladies like dessert, you must also know that they like flowers.”
“I suppose you’d prefer a spring wedding, then.”
Kestrel lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Summer would be best.”
“Luckily my palace has hot houses. Even in winter, we could carpet the Great Hall with petals.”
Kestrel silently ate more of the dessert. Her fork turned into a flat stick.
“Unless you wish to postpone the wedding,” said the emperor.
“I’m thinking of our guests. The empire is vast. People will come from every province. Winter is a terrible time to travel and spring little better. It rains, and the roads become muddy.”
The emperor leaned back in his chair, studying her with an amused expression.“Also,” she said, “I would hate to waste an opportunity. You know that the nobles and governors will give you what they can—favors, information, gold—for the best seats at the wedding. The mystery of what I will wear and what music will be played will distract the empire. No one would notice if you made a political decision that would otherwise outrage thousands. If I were you, I would enjoy my long engagement. Use it for all it’s worth.”
He laughed. “Oh, Kestrel. What an empress you will be.” He raised his glass. “To your happy union, on the day of Firstsummer.”
She would have had to drink to that, had not Prince Verex entered the dining room and stopped short, his large eyes showing every shift of emotion: surprise, hurt, anger.
“You’re late,” his father said.
“I am not.” Verex’s hands clenched.
“Kestrel managed to be here on time. Why couldn’t you?”
“Because you told me the wrong hour.”
The emperor tsked. “You misremember.”
“You’re making me look the fool!”
I am making you look nothing of the kind.”
Verex’s mouth snapped shut. His head bobbed on his neck like something caught in a current.
“Come,” Kestrel said gently. “Have dessert with us.”
The look he shot her told Kestrel that he might hate his father’s games, but he hated her pity more. He fled the room.
Kestrel toyed with her stub of a sugar fork. Even after the prince’s noisy course down the hall had dwindled into silence, she knew better than to speak.
“Look at me,” the emperor said.
She raised her eyes.
“You don’t want a summer wedding for the sake of flowers, or guests, or political purchase,” he said. “You want to postpone it for as long as possible.”
Kestrel held the fork tightly.
“I’ll give you what you want, within reason,” he said, “and I will tell you why. Because I don’t blame you, given your bridegroom. Because you don’t whine for what you want, but seek to win it. Like I would. When you look at me, you see who you will become. A ruler. I have chosen you, Kestrel, and will make you into everything my son cannot be. Someone fit to take my place.”
Kestrel looked, and her look became a stare that searched for her future in an old man capable of cruelty to his own child.
He smiled. “Tomorrow I’d like for you to meet with the captain of the imperial guard.”
She had never met the captain before, but was familiar enough with his role. Officially, he was responsible for the emperor’s personal safety. Unofficially, this duty spread to others that no one discussed. Surveillance. Assassinations. The captain was good at making people vanish.
“He has something to show you,” the emperor said.
“What is it?”
“A surprise. Now look happy, Kestrel. I’m giving you everything that you could want.”
Sometimes the emperor was generous. She’d seen audiences with him where he’d given senators private land in new colonies, or powerful seats in the Quorum. But she’d also seen how his generosity tempted others to ask for just a little more. Then his eyes went heavy-lidded, like a cat’s, and she would see how his gifts made people reveal what they really wanted.
Nonetheless, she couldn’t help hoping that the wedding could be put off for longer than a few months. Firstsummer was better than next week, of course, but still too soon. Much too soon. Would the emperor agree to a year? More? She said, “Firstsummer—”
“Is the perfect date.”
Kestrel’s gaze fell to her closed hand. It opened with a sweet scent and rested empty on the table.
The sugar fork had vanished against the heat of her palm.


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Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alant McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.




1 comments:

  1. All that GIFy crying that was going on up there? Yeah, that is the reason I refuse to even start this series until the very last book releases! I can't do it to myself. I have read enough reviews for both of these books, and the sentiment is basically the same. Beautiful, perfect story... Hard as heck ending. It stinks making myself wait, but in the end, when I can sit down and read the series, one after the other, it will be totally and completely worth it!

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