Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, April 28, 2014
Why I chose this book: 
I am so wary about hype. Let me tell you, if you are anywhere near anything bookish, you've definitely heard about this book. This book was campaigned like crazy. This made me nervous, since The Fifth Wave had a similar craze to it only to be a huge let down. Despite this, I trusted the opinion of popular bloggers and took the plunge. I was definitely pleased with the outcome. 

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Firrar Straus Giroux
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Format: Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
B&N || Amazon || Indiebound

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. (Goodreads)

Four things You Need to Know:

1. Fantasy? Historical Fiction? 
While reading this book I kept tossing back and forth as to whether this was fantasy or historical fiction. The way Rutkoski writes such beautifully delicate prose, it crosses the realm of fantasy into reality. I kept exclaiming to Amanda, "This book feels Roman, but then again not!" 

2. World building that doesn't make you cry.
For real. Rutkoski knows how to create a world that is introduced in pieces which makes the whole task seem simple and not overwhelming at all. The reader learns about Valorian and Herrani races through the eyes of the protagonist Kestrel. As she learns more about the world around her, so does the reader. This "chunking" of history makes the story enjoyable.  

3. My one complaint. 
I wanted MORE. The love between Kestrel and Arin is so tame that it left me begging for more. While this is still a young adult novel, there was plenty of room for romance. With the beautiful writing that Rutkoski displayed everywhere else, the potential love story between the two characters could have been so lovely. 

4. Strong female characters. 
I LOVED the character of Kestrel. She was such a strong and independent character that took no crap from her male counterparts. Even in the midst of a challenge, she did not back down. Furthermore, I enjoyed that Kestrel was not necessarily physically strong. She was strong in mind. Kestrel relied on her logic and book knowledge to help her get out of many difficulties. 

Final thoughts
I loved this book and am so stinking glad this is a series, and I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out! If you are looking for some good fantasy, definitely check out this book! 

I gave it five stars on my Goodreads.

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