** 5 beautiful but frustrating stars **
I loved this sequel as much as the first book The Winner’s curse !!
To me, this book was all about Kestrel, how she shone brighter than ever, and her growth as a character. In this second book, she’s maturing and slowly finding out who she wants to be. She will realize her mistakes, what she did wrong, she will feel the guilt and then will try to do the right thing, at least what she thinks is the right thing. I absolutely love Kestrel character’s development as well as her struggles with wanting to be someone better but not being able to show it for fear of what could happen to her or worse to Arin. I could understand all her lies to him, because she only wanted to protect him, and I loved how she stayed strong and fierce until the end, never betraying herself or Arin. Kestrel is such a strong and smart character, with a mind that equals no one. She’s also brave and faithful, a great strategist and loyal daughter, always trying to do the right thing and protect the ones she loves. I admire Kestrel so much, she’s really amazing !
I thought Arin’s characterization was not as well developed as Kestrel’s, than he didn't shine as bright as Kestrel did or as much as he did in book 1, but I still loved him so deeply and admired how persistent he was towards Kestrel through much of the book. Arin is someone who follows and trusts his heart, he never lets gossips, appearances or what Kestrel tells him deters him. He trusts that he knows deep down who Kestrel is and he’s determined not to let her go and be someone she’s not and doesn’t want to be. Arin had the knack for making my heart squeeze with how faithful he stayed to Kestrel, how he wanted her, how, each time, he would open his heart to her and try to figure out what she feels in return. I also liked his will to help his people and how resourceful and brave he is. Arin has the same strong mind as Kestrel, which only makes them even more perfect for each other !
I’ll be honest, this book was freaking frustrating ! I got so frustrated at some point with all the lies and misunderstandings between Kestrel and Arin ! They could never be on the same page, and each of their scenes together was so heart-breaking, intense and powerful, with sparks flying and butterflies dancing ! I thought I would go crazy with all the lies, I wanted to scream at Kestrel to tell Arin the truth because he was slowly slipping away from her ! I got why she was doing it, I just wanted for things to finally get better for them !
But I was still amazed by how this relationship is handled so well and beautifully, getting you hooked until the final page.
There was still not much action in this book, but it didn’t bother me that much because the plots, lies, strategies and spying were so entertaining and smart ! Sometimes, it would feel like slowly solving a riddle or puzzle, and I would feel so involved with the characters while they slowly figured things out.
Of course, the writing was as beautiful and poetic if not better than in book 1. It’s so enchanting and mesmerizing, transporting you with dreamy words full of metaphors and comparisons, detailing feelings with powerful poetry. The writing just makes you FEEL !
And what kind of ending is that ?! I am NOT okay with that ending !! This is not possible ! I can’t wait several months to have book 3 ! Everything is even worse at the end than it was at the beginning ! This book let me completely frustrated but at the same time awed ! Now, I’m emotionally wrecked and I need book 3 really soon !