I probably should’ve given up on this series after the first book, when I felt frustrated with it. I’m in the obvious minority when it comes to this series, where I’m sitting and shaking my head as I don’t understand what I’m missing that everyone else seems to love. While I could at least finish reading “The Winner’s Curse”, the same cannot be said for its sequel. The first couple of days of reading “The Winner’s Crime” I got through a lot, but when I got to the halfway point things slowed down and began to drag on at a snail’s pace to the point where an already unengaging read turned into a burden. I’m giving up on this book about two-thirds of the way in, and won’t be touching the series again for several reasons.
I could barely remember the plot of the first book when I picked this one up, and that’s never a good sign. Memorable series have at least triggering incidents or words that you can grab onto and carry with you into the sequel. But I couldn’t remember anything besides a very frustrating romance between Kestrel and Arin in the first book, so when Jess and Ronan were introduced back into the story I was scratching my head wondering who they were. It wasn’t memorable whatsoever, and book two only built on the frustration and boredom of its predecessor.
The story took a drastic turn for a very dry soap opera. The 60% or so of the book that I did read was mostly taken up by Arin and Kestrel trying not to think about each other and doing the exact opposite, thinking about how illogical their feelings are but still wanting to feel them at the same time. This isn’t the fast-paced, adventurous and exciting story that was promised in book one, and book two eliminated any hope I had of a possible redemption from the author. The plot is dry and unengaging and there were too many redundant, repetitive thoughts and phrases for my liking.
Either I’m missing something or I don’t like whatever it is people are going crazy about in this series. The romance, which is definitely the focal point of the story, is nothing amazing nor original, so if you want a book that has a good romantic anchor I wouldn’t say this should be the first choice. The world building remained partial and unengaging, the supporting characters very distant, cardboard-like and easily forgettable. I wash my hands of this series. I feel I gave it a fair shot, especially considering that I didn’t find the first book that great, but it was bearable compared to the sloppiness of book two which takes the “middle book syndrome” of trilogies to a whole new level. Disappointed and sad, but I’ll let others enjoy whatever it is they see in this series. There’s nothing in it for me and struggling through it doesn’t sound appealing, nor do I care at this point what the other 40% of book two were like, or what book three will hold.