Young Adult, Fantasy
Part of a Series?:
The first in a planned trilogy, I believe
March 4th, 2014
You Can Find the Book At:
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR pile for quite some time now and I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally get to it. I received it from Fierce Reads in exchange for helping to promote during their Spring/Summer releases last year and its a signed copy and everything. I was struggling to pick a book to read and my eyes landed on the absolutely GORGEOUS cover and decided, let’s do it.
And I am SO glad I did. I FLEW through this book. While the premise of the book sounded really great, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It was just absolutely fantastic. The world that Marie created BREATHES off the page, it feels so real. The minute that you meet both Kestrel and Arin, you’re just sucked in. They both are such deep and compelling characters. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the split POVs but in this case, I loved it. You were given a chance to really get to know each character, to see them both struggle with the complicated friendship/relationship that builds between them. I also think it was a good way to build up to that incredible climax.
The book has a beautiful romance to it but there’s so much more than that. This is a country full of people enslaved to their conquerers. Arin is part of those people and you are so fiercely on his side, wanting him to overcome this life and take his country back. But you are also afraid for Kestrel, and her friends, her father, the people that you grow to care about because you’re in her head. When the climax hits (and I won’t say much more than that because, you know, spoilers), and everything kind of blows up, its incredible. It creates an incredibly complicated situation and you’re torn in pieces. You see everyone’s point of view and you want everything to just…work out and it doesn’t and its incredibly heartbreaking. Its very real and genuine and the characters are just beautiful.
What I really loved about this book is how realistic it felt. The realities of being a conquered country, of war, of a relationship between two people on complete opposite sides…it all felt so incredibly real. There was no fairy tale storytelling and that’s what I loved. You’re sitting here, thinking, how on earth is any of this going to work out…and then it hits you, maybe it won’t. And that is definitely enough for me to keep turning the page. Now I can’t wait for the second book!
4.5 out of 5 stars