Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review: THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski

Description from Goodreads:

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.

The Winner’s Curse had me from the very first page, maybe even from the cover – which is completely gorgeous. I was immediately drawn to Kestrel and her confident, outward defiance of social boundaries. This is not some dainty, naïve girl who is thrown into the deep end of a conflict just to be saved by some gorgeous hero. Not. Even. A little bit. Kestrel won't back down from a fight – especially one she most likely started – and being the General’s daughter, she can hold her own when it comes to complex strategic planning. Basically, she’s brilliant and completely awesome.

The world in which we meet Kestrel is divided in two… The conquered and the conquerors. Rutkoski’s storytelling is so beautiful here that I neither wanted nor needed a major backstory-info dump. I was more than happy to jump right into this world and get swept up in the old world dances and duels, intrigue and romance.

Kestrel, whose father led the invasion, is at the top of the wealthy Valorian elite, while Arin, the slave Kestrel buys at auction, is one of the defeated Herran. For reasons unknown to either of them, Kestrel trusts Arin and finds in him a confidant and friend, though he always seems to keep her at arm’s length. Their relationship, like the story itself is not rushed. Although there is SO much happening, it moves at a perfect pace that keeps the pages turning quickly.

If you are a Fantasy reader and have not picked up The Winner’s Curse, I highly, highly recommend that you do! And lucky for you, the next book (The Winner’s Crime) is already out so you don’t have to wait a year like the rest of us!

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