“Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust …
While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.
Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.”
I am really enjoying reading this series. I loved the first book and I loved this book even more, this series just keeps getting better and better. It’s action-packed, exciting and full of heart-wrenching twists and turns, my heart was pounding. The plot progression and character growth in this book is brilliant and we see the introduction of some wonderful new characters.
The author weaves an amazing story which is completely devastating, truly heart-breaking but absolutely brilliant. The world-building, first introduced in The Winner’s Curse, is explored in much more depth in this book. We see the introduction of the Dacran people in the Eastern continent, as well as the introduction some of the new characters, Risha, Verex, Rashar and Deliah. I suspect one or two of these characters are being set up to a more pivotal role in the next book.
The court environment in Valoria is so tense everyone is being watched, or thinks they’re being watched, by the Emperor’s spies and can’t put a foot wrong. The Emperor is evil, a truly abhorrent character, who is sadistic and unpredictable and this creates edginess and tension in the atmosphere at court. You’re constantly thinking something really bad is going to happen, and of course it does.
Arin and Kestrel are two amazing leads and although there isn’t much romance in this particular book, on the few occasions they do meet it was agonising for the reader. Their relationship is completely frustrating, torturous and maddening, there are so many lies and misunderstandings you want to scream at both of them to sort themselves out. This is slow burn to the maximum, they need to get together in the next book or I may go into meltdown.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, the pacing is good although I felt it was slower in the first half. I loved reading about the costume descriptions, the vivid descriptions of the surroundings, the politics and the people. The characters are all amazing and the world-building excellent. The ending is completely breathtaking, what a cliff-hanger. I am left completely dazed and holding my breath for the next instalment.
I hope you enjoyed this review, happy reading.