Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.
Winner’s Trilogy #2
Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2016
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2015
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel right now. I’m feeling so many things. This series is so damn conflicting. And the best/worst part is that the author intends for it to be that way. Normally, it’s pretty obvious how the author wants you to feel but with Marie Rutkoski, I can’t tell up from down anymore and it’s brilliant. So why the 4.5 stars? Because this brilliant resurgence of emotion only happened in the final chapters. Those chapters were utterly exhilarating. The kind that caused my heart to race with excitement, face to flush with anger, and skin to tingle with anticipation. The first 75% of the story might as well have not even existed, because all I can remember is the ending. If I had written this last night after immediately finishing the audiobook, my review would have a very different tone. I finished it while lying in bed and it took me quite a while to calm down enough to fall asleep. I was furious with Kestrel, the “protagonist”, for being so ridiculously stupid. I could probably think of a more dignified, SAT-like word to describe her actions in this installment, but stupid pretty much sums it up. My feelings for her took a severe nosedive in the final chapters (they were already steadily declining, anyway). She’s not what I would call “my kind” of main character, meaning the type that I prefer. I understand that not all main characters have to be strong, brave, independent, etc. and it is okay to write a “weaker” female lead, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy reading them. From my impression of her in the first installment,I thought (and hoped) that she would be the type of female protagonist that I enjoy reading (à la “River Song”), but this installment significantly weakened her character. Worse than that, it allowed love to be the cause of her weakening. As I said, I’m certain all of this was intentional, because it serves the overall story, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The same thing was done to Arin (the male protagonist), only slightly less so (read into that what you will). Honestly, these two are the types of characters that give you the uncontrollable urge to repeatedly bang your head against any available surface.
AND YET… I’m just as obsessed with this series now as I was after finishing the first installment. Cue Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You”, because that is the only appropriate anthem for this series. God help these two because they sure don’t want to help themselves. It’s a wonder they have feet left to walk on, after shooting themselves there so many times. I swear, this book is nothing if not exasperating. AND YET… I can’t wait to get my hands on the third installment to let it exasperate me even more.
Narration review: As detailed in my review of the previous installment, I do not care for the sound of the narrator’s (Justine Eyre) voice even a little bit. But I challenged myself when beginning this installment to find something about her narration that I didn’t hate. Lo and behold, I did it. She has a wonderful ability to vary character accents by fictional geographical region. ♣︎