Book: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date Published: March 4th, 2014
Date Started: March 25th, 2015
Date Finished: March 28th, 2015
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.
This is one of those books that I was afraid that I was going to be so disappointed over because there was too much hype. I tried to keep a suspicious eye open while I was reading, but it turned out that I didn’t need to. This book lived up to the hype and so much more. In fact, I wanted to read the sequel asap, but I went with my better judgement and decided not to. I’m trying to avoid a whole genre/series burn out.
It took me a while to write this review because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. Sometimes after reading a book, I’ll be totally in love with it and write this gushing review. And then after a few weeks, I’ll have thought it over and actually find some things that I wasn’t really fond of. But after reading this and waiting a while to write this review, I can still say that I don’t really have anything negative to say about this book. Its going to be that gushing review anyways.
I’m going to start off with the world building. I was a really big fan of that part. The world building comes off so natural and I felt like I could imagine everything just perfectly. I think whats great about this book is that it allows your imagination to take over a bit and you can add in your own bits and pieces to the world building. Personally, I think I added bits and pieces from a video game, and I think it worked out pretty great.
Another aspect that I liked about this book was the way that it dealt with morals. Kestrel is a character who is a bit of an outcast in the way that she thinks and acts but not so much where she is completed ousted. I think her standing as the most famous general’s daughter also has something to do with it. Kestrel had some issues with the slavery in this book, but not so much where she was completely rebelling. I think she was trying to be true to herself. She loved music (playing music is reserved for slaves), her slave nurse (whom she freed and built a house for), and eventually her love for Arin started to take form. There was also a lot of blood shed and it came across as something that needed to be done, but wasn’t brushed off as something so normal, something that comes naturally, at least to Kestrel.
I also liked the romance aspect. It wasn’t instant love. Their feelings for each other came slow and natural. I mean, even in the beginning, Arin had hateful thoughts about Kestrel. I also liked that the romance wasn’t the major overarching story, but a product of the story as a whole. I feel like there’s going to be a love triangle in the next book, but its a forced love triangle, one not by choice.
I really can’t wait for the next book. I’m actually going to start it as soon as I’m done writing this review. So look out for the review of The Winner’s Crime sometime soon. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so you might just get another gushing review.