This is a spoiler free review! Was supposed to go up yesterday but it apparently didn't post...
The Winner’s Curse
Written by Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/High Fantasy/Dystopian
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Recommended Age: 13 and up!
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.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book because many people have said that there was a lot of politics and I am not that good with politics. But I ended up being blown away by this fantastic book. It did take me a week or so to read it but it was so worth it. I have never read a book by this author so I didn’t know anything about her writing or style or any of that jazz.
Let’s start with the cover!
The cover is gorgeous and needs an award. No, I am not kidding. Part of the reason I picked this book up was because the cover was gorgeous. At first I thought it was a fairytale retelling because the cover looks so much like one but it isn’t.
This is a fantasy novel with no magic, mythical creatures or Game of Thrones things. That being said, the world building aspect of this book was done really well. The author introduced us to the way the characters lived and which sort of ‘castes’ each person belonged to. A lot of the world-building had to do with politics however because the main character was the daughter of a general.
Then there are the characters.
We first meet Kestrel when she is visiting the marketplace where shortly after she buys a slave for an outrageous price. She’s strong and independent which are characteristics I adore in a female character. She proves her usefulness countless times and even rejects a man more than once. Kestrel also isn’t the type of person to back down when she really wants something and she knows what she wants. I really liked her and can’t wait to see what happens to her in the next few books.
We first meet him being sold in the marketplace. My first impression of him wasn’t that great. I didn’t like his attitude. He was cold and not kind which led me to question what Kestrel could possibly see in him. Later on, though I realized how much he cared about others and how he’s so loyal to people. Ugh and the ending just slightly killed me.
There are a lot of other characters but I’m not going to talk about any of the others.
The plot was really unique and I really enjoyed it. I don’t normally go into a book without knowing at least a little bit about it and I didn’t know too much for this one but I knew enough to know I wouldn’t DNF the book. Okay, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy? Am I right? Everything slowly came together though and it was beautiful! I am so ready for the next book which I will be reading in the next couple of weeks.
There was no love triangle. That alone made me so so happy! You have no idea.
The romance wasn’t insta love which made me so happy. If you know anything about me is that I don’t like books where the romance is insta love. *shudders* Like, sometimes the two characters meet and then suddenly they are in love or something. That isn’t how life works.
Arin and Kestrel did not like each other from the beginning and it was made very clear. Then slowly, they began to tolerate each other and it finally developed into something a little more than friendship. I really don’t think it is love however as they both betray each other.
I really like her writing. Except for the part when she changes POVs. That gets a tiny bit confusing. There were some times when I wasn’t sure whose point of view it was in at the time.
Some of you might be confused at this point as to why I rated it five crowns. The answer to that is that I loved it a lot but there are always minor things I have problems with. If I was really picky, I might have rated it a four but I think this book deserves a five. This is a fantasy without magic or magical lands. I highly recommend it!
Quotes from the Book:
“Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”
“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”
“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns