Series: The Winner's Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: July 3, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
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.
THAT ENDING. It should be illegal to end books like that. *sobs in the corner* The Winner’s Curse doesn’t disappoint to provide an outstanding fantasy tale with strong, relatable protagonists, a highly swoon-worthy forbidden romance, flawless world building and a riveting and well plotted story line. Even though it’s been a day since I’ve read this, my thoughts haven’t left this novel.
Kestrel’s life has never been the most intriguing. She’s the general’s daughter and is given two choices: either join the military and fight or marry to a respectable Valorian man. Kestrel wants to do neither. Her days are spent playing piano, for she is infatuated with music. And during this time period, music isn’t regarded as something people like Kestrel should be interested in. Yet when she finds herself at an auction for a slave who is believed that he can sing, Kestrel finds herself buying him for a heavy price. What Kestrel doesn’t know is that buying the slave–Arin–was a huge mistake.
It was a sin to break a deathbed promise.
Arin left without making one.
The characters in The Winner’s Curse were written with a lot of relatable characteristics but refreshing all the same. Kestrel isn’t afraid to stand her ground and do what she believes is right. Even if it means to break a few rules here and there. She’s a strategist as well. I loved her strong minded personality. And of course, her love for music was a bonus. As for Arin, the blacksmith, he was a very smart and quick to take advantages when a hole opens up. I think I liked Arin more than Kestrel, mainly for Arin’s past and how awfully flawed but realistic he was. (Not to say that Kestrel wasn’t. But he was exceptionally more so.)
I fell in love with the romance. Like everyone has probably mentioned, it’s a slow burn and will make you swoon. That hair braiding scene = me flailing and dying simultaneously. It’s a forbidden romance like I aforementioned but wasn’t angsty or full on melodramatic like some forbidden romances can be. Rutkoski gives us the perfect dose.
She saw him and didn’t understand how she had ever missed his beauty. How it didn’t always strike her as it did now, like a blow.
There isn’t much that The Winner’s Curse fails at. And, if anything I had to nit-pick at, it would be at the pacing. The second half of The Winner’s Curse is exceedingly better than the first. If the first half was a stroll in the park, the second half was a never-ending sprint. It was in the last half, where stakes grew high and where the plot line really moved. Sure, the entire novel was fascinating, but the second half seriously took it to the next level.
The Winner’s Curse deserves all the praise, if not more. It’s brimming with brilliance and will definitely sweep readers off their feet with it’s unforgettable characters and world. Now, who should I give all my money to in exchange for book 2?
~Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this copy!~
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