The Winner's Curse

By Marie Rutoski
Published on March 4, 2013
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux
Source: Publisher
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.

Coranne thought...

This book started slow.  I was concerned because so many of my favorite bloggers loved this book.  Not saying I didn't enjoy the beginning, but nothing was really happening. I do have to say that even though the book started slowly, I didn't feel like it was missing world building.  The author did a good job of telling me what I needed to know when I needed to know it without info dumping.

I enjoyed the twist about the slaves.  It was as if I was reading a fantasy book about ancient times.  I thought that was both interesting and new.  I couldn't pinpoint exactly what time period this was supposed to be, but I didn't have any issue with that. There were many twists and turns in the plot that I didn't anticipate and that I appreciated.  I can't go into great detail about the plot- there is a large twist about halfway through that would absolutely spoil the book for anyone who hasn't read it.  I have to say the storyline that the author has come up with is so original to the ya genre.  I can't think of any books that have this specific twist.

The main character of this book is feminine and soft and loves music.  She also has a very clever mind and is able to strategist and use her mind to get ahead.  She doesn't pretend that she is the strongest or best fighter- in fact that is something that is to her disadvantage in the book.  But I love that she uses her mind to work her way through situations.   Strength isn't just how well you can beat the snot out of someone.

The main hero is a bit of an anti-hero.  He isn't a bad boy or some sort of savior.  He is a broken hero who is conflicted about who he should be and is a bit rough around the edges. I really enjoyed reading half of this book from his point of view.  It really added so much to the reading experience.

All in all this was a solid first book.  I can't say it is my favorite fantasy, but it is on my list of sequels to be on the lookout for- I will absolutely want to read it!

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