Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: March 4, 2014
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.
The Hype Monster is a terrible beast, yet The Winner's Curse escaped its clutch mostly unscathed, despite the glowing reviews from All The Blogs and the yearning of which nearly everyone is feeling the pull. (I usually don't enjoy hyped up books.) Marie Rutkoski executes the promises of the premise in a way that I didn't quite expect, but it was fulfilling nonetheless.
Kestrel is a heroine that I love to read about. She has a sort of strength that isn't physical in nature and is hard to really describe. Kestrel isn't trying to overthrow the system that allows for slavery or demands that women either join the military or marry by a certain age, but she does start to question why those are the only options. Arin, on the other hand, was not my favorite character. I understand where he was coming from, but he wasn't nearly as likeable as Kestrel.
The world in The Winner's Curse is an imaginary one, but it reminded me a lot of the The Wicked and the Just's setting at times. No, the similarities between the two are not huge, but I love when fantasy novels feel like they could or have happened. Then again, I spend so much time in fantasy worlds that they are a part of my reality. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Just saying. Anywho, The Winner's Curse still stood out to me with its lovely world.
The writing in the novel was lovely, but I had a few issues with the pace of the novel. I came really close to giving The Winner's Curse a big fat DNF in the first third or so of the book, but I forced myself to keep going. Yes, there are parts that drag, but once it takes off, you better hold on to your toupee, Donald Trump! I expected the book to go where it did until the end. After that... Well, let's just say that Rutkoski put one past me.
The Winner's Curse is a book well worth the hype, so nanny nanny boo boo*, I've already read it, and it's time for you to go get a copy. On March 4th.
*Don't be mad at me. I never get to say that.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.