Since this is a sequel this is going to have spoilers for book one. Also this has some things that border on spoiler territory so precede with caution.
Book two of the Winner's follows Kestral around the Capital dealing with being engaged to Verex. This book is painful and heart wrenching but in the way a good book is. So often I found myself really frustrated with the characters but all their actions made sense. The political side of things ramps up in this book and with that comes a lot of lies and miscommunications (also after the end of the last book obviously the lies and miscommunication is going to continue). Unlike a lot of books that deal with miscommunication I didn't want to shout "USE YOUR WORDS!!!". I like the way Rutkoski writes, it had a way of put us into the political chess game and feeling it. I liked this book more than the first book because I found a lot of the first book rather predictable whereas this one had me wandering what was going to happen next feeling more unsure about everything.
In my review for the first book I mentioned that the relationship at times felt Stockholm'sish. I read an interview with Rutkoski and she noted right off the bat (and in better words than I) that she wanted to look into the "damage of asymmetrical power" . I'm really glad that Rutkoski didn't just let that go in this book. I think we often see really problematic relationships swept under the rug especially in YA, and to see that impacting the characters in this book was really nice.