Title: The Winner’s Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355 (hardcover)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Published: March 14, 2014
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.
I absolutely loved this book. I’ve read it twice in the last three months, because I just couldn’t get the story out of my head. I think that The Winner’s Curse is set in such a unique world, and has many important messages about the world that we live in, veiled by a great story with interesting characters.
This book is just so swoony. The entire time I was reading it, I couldn’t help but wish that Kestrel and Arin would realize their feelings for one another, despite the many obstacles that they faced. Though I really wanted them together as soon as possible, because their tension was so obvious, I was happy that it took as long as it did for them to see their feelings, because it made it believable. I can’t stand when two characters have insta-love, even though that’s totally what I was hoping for with Kestrel and Arin.
Kestrel skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorite female characters. She isn’t like the heroines of all of the other major YA books out there. She isn’t a skilled fighter or hunter. But Kestrel is smart, and strategic, and she embraces it to it’s fullest. Kestrel is independent, and despite her society’s rules regarding women, she manages to do what she wants.
I love the world that this book takes place in. It is so well thought out, and I could picture it in my head so clearly while I read the book. There’s a mix of fantasy and history, and it is definitely a world that I would like to visit. I can’t say as though I’d want to live there, because women can’t travel without an escort, but I would definitely be down to go to a few of the balls and parties that happen.
I’ve already read the entire trilogy, but am planning on rereading the other two books as well, and I’ll likely be doing reviews for Crime and Kiss as well. I give The Winner’s Curse 5/5 stars, but I would give it about a million more stars if I could.