I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
by Marie Rutkoski
YA Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

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.


To be honest, the premise of this book didn't draw me in at first.  The plot synopsis has slave culture and gambling which are two things I'm not really interested in.  But from all the fantastic reviews for this, I picked it up, and I'm very glad I did.  This story really was all about the characters, and it was a beautifully written fantasy drama.

The individual conflicts for Kestrel and Arin were the best part of this story I think.  They both have such different backgrounds and goals, and yet they find themselves drawn to each other which causes them a lot of trouble.  It was easy to be sympathetic towards their plight, and the suspense of not knowing how their difficult situations would be resolved, made the plot very engaging.  The romance aspect - while appealing - was not as well drawn for me though.  I wish I understood clearer why they were so attached, after only a few conversations.  Especially for Arin who has so much to be bitter about.  It did make sense why they were drawn to each other in the first place though, as they were characters who didn't fit in with their roles and they did have some mutual interests.

The world-building was another highlight of this story.  The history and background was so vivid and realistic.  The Greco-Roman flair made it even more appealing to me as well because it made it even easier to imagine the elements of the culture and the architecture.  This was a very fast read for me, because I was so caught up in the twists and turns of the plot.  It's a perfectly-pitched drama with high stakes and heart-rending choices.  This was a fantastic read!

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