Author: Marie Rutkoski (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
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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. Summary from Dust Jacket
I had a couple of friends recommend The Winner’s Curse to me, and my good friend Rachel lent me her book. I’m really glad they recommended it because I really enjoyed it!
I loved the world Rutkoski created. It was so interesting because it was like reading historical fiction mixed with fantasy. The world feels like it’s set in the 1800s but with a lot of Greco-Roman elements mixed in. I actually pictured Valoria and Herran as Greece and Italy when they talked about sailing from one place to another.
I loved the politics in this story. They were intense and had so many elements that made the story rich and meaningful. There was no simple explanation for anything. Everything had a purpose and reason. And, the dynamics between all the characters and the different cultures made the story interesting to read.
I loved Kestrel, the main protagonist. She was a very likable, strong, and emotional character. I don’t mean emotional as in all cry-y and weepy. I mean that she had feelings and cared for others. I loved that she questioned things and didn’t just follow everyone around her. She was torn with how their society was built and how it functioned. She didn’t want to disappoint her father, but she also didn’t want to hurt anyone that didn’t deserve to be hurt.
I also loved Arin. And, I loved that we got to read his point-of-view from time to time. It was fun to know his motives before Kestrel did and then see how everything came together. Even though we knew his motives, we didn’t know everything about him. We had to learn it along with Kestrel and we still don’t know everything. I really love that about this story. It’s like an even more limited view of a main character. It really adds to Arin’s mystery and intrigue.
I want to read the rest of the story now; I don’t want to wait. I actually need more! There’s so much potential. A lot of great things have been set up for the rest of the series. I just hope there won’t be a love triangle since it could happen easily. I really, really, really hope it goes another way. And, I hope it ends how I want it to, but only time will tell.
All in all, it was a very fun and interesting story. It had so many things going for it–romance, fantasy, great characters, awesome world building, and an interesting plot.