Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published: March 4th, 2014
Hardcover, 355 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary 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 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 imagines new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is a stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Let me start by saying that the cover of this book is what first caught my attention. A beautiful dress and amazing font made me desperately want to see what was inside. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. We've come into this world years after a war that left the rich society of the Herrani enslaved to the war-ridden Valorian. Kestrel is the general's daughter and she quickly makes a choice that may ruin everything her father has been working toward. She buys a young slave while at auction, a man who has spoken to her without speaking and someone she knows she must be near. But having her own slave is not what she expected and she treats Arin like her fellow Valorian and soon the rumours of a love affair begin. Just because the rumours aren't real doesn't mean that's what Kestrel wants. But Arin knows more than he lets on and Kestrel's love eyes blur her vision to his devious plans.

This book blew me away in the most subtle way. It was slow moving and there wasn't much action and that is what I loved about it. The characters were vibrant and I fell in love with Kestrel and her spirit and need to be different from the rest of the Valorian. Her best friend Jess is a typical rich girl, ready for gossip and pretty dresses, but I loved everything about her and never saw her as less than Kestrel. Arin was dark and dangerous and could very well have turned into the bad guy, and I loved reading his point of view and the way he saw Kestrel. He loved her even after what her people did to his people. And we could see how badly Kestrel wanted to make things better between the two colonies because of her love for Arin.

The world intrigued me. I loved the war that happened and how realistic it all seemed. It was like Rome taking over Greece and we all know how easily something like that could happen again. I loved the small hints at the different fashions between the Herrani and the Valorian. I'm excited to see what else Rutkoski has in store for the rest of this trilogy as I can see so much more happening. Then tension between Kestrel and Arin was perfectly executed and I need more of the two of them in my life. This reads almost like a period drama and it would be good for anyone who likes a book set in a different world without too much action. I'm a big fan of the small things and this book gave me everything I could have asked for. I think those who read These Broken Stars would love this one.

"Arin smiles. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not."

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