Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Category: Romance/ Fantasy
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Winning what you want may cost you everything you loveAs 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.
My Thoughts:I enjoyed the whole concept of this book, the winner’s curse, and how Marie took that saying and turned it into a very well developed story. Marie did an amazing job creating her world and her characters. She really developed and dove deep into creating a pure culture, one that has languages, a background, beliefs, and an intense history.
That is something I just love when reading a fantasy book. And, I feel, Marie did a wonderful job at creating and developing this fictional world. It didn’t feel like a fictional world, it felt like a real place with a long and intricate history.
The characters were another element that Marie developed well. Each one was unique and had specific roles to play. The main character, Kestrel, was well developed. She also came off as feeling original in her actions and her thoughts. She’s a very smart character, with a strategic mind. She’s also not much of a physical fighter, which I found refreshing. Instant she uses her wits and ability to read people to fight."Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not."
Throughout the book, I loved watching her develop and how she is. Though she didn't always make the right moves, Kestrel did everything she did to the best of her ability. And not only is she a brilliant young adult, she is a very kind and fair character. And, yes, she has her faults, but I definitely like her character.
Then there is Arin; a slave bought by Kestrel. But he isn't all that he seems. Though I can’t go into much detail about him and his role, I will say he is another brilliant and well written character. I loved learning about him and his past and who he is now. He definitely challenged Kestrel, in good ways of course. And he also showed multiply sides of himself. He’s a diverse character, but a kind, determined and fierce character as well.
There are quite a few side characters as well in the book. Each one was well written and each played their role in the story vividly. I just can't wait to see where the story is going to go and what is going to happen to all the characters!
The only thing I do wish there was more of was the romance factor (I’m such a romantic). The attraction between Kestrel and Arin was most definitely there. And I could feel it between the characters, it was; however, a slow building romance. Fiery, but a slow burn. The book focuses more on the culture and history – which isn't a bad thing and it was something I loved, but I wanted more scenes between Arin and Kestrel."The god of lies must love you, you see things so clearly."
The Winner's Curse is a beautifully written and brilliantly crafted book. A lot does happen, but the pacing was just to my liking and nothing seemed to move or happen too fast. The building of the conflict felt real and intense. And this definitely isn't a light, sweet romantic read. It’s filled with politics, betrayals, lies, hope, love, and deception. And I could not get enough of it! I definitely recommend this intense Young Adult series!