Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Review)

YA, Fantasy
Publication Date:March 4, 2014
Published By:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Series:The Winner's Trilogy #1

Review copy:Purchased
Buy it:
Amazon ~ Chapters ~ B&N 

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.

  "If a woman can fight and die for the empire, why can't a woman walk alone?
  "That's the point.  A woman soldier has proved her strength, and so doesn't need protection."
  "Neither do I."
  Arin's heart seemed to be punching its way out of his chest, he was so angry.  But he knew that Cheat was right, and his mood wasn't the auctioneer's fault.  It was his own.  Or hers.
  His speed was terrifying.  Kestrel hit the ground, her cheek scraping dirt, then shoved herself up before Irex could catch her in so vulnerable a position.  As she stood, she saw something gleam on the ground: the very end of her braid, sheared off by the knife.

  This book has sat on my shelf for way too long.  It was an excellent example of: "Why the hell did I not start this sooner?!"  Rutkoski masterfully crafted and executed a fantasy novel with an intriguing plot and unique characters, that have no problem standing out.  I would also like to point out my mistake in thinking that this was some sort of dystopia... It wasn't.  It was probably one of my favourite fantasy novels EVER!!! I'm sure you already got that but I just don't think that I can say it enough.

  So, this is a super hard thing for me to explain without ruining it or making it sound like less than it is.  However, I have to say that there was not a single moment that I wanted to put this book down.  With crystal clarity the characters were developed, without any information dumps or lags in the pace.  That being said, Rutkoski paced out this novel with perfection and in my eyes with no taboos.  There wasn't a dreaded triangle or the damsel in distress, and not even the girl that discovers her power later.  No, The Winners Curse stood out with its strong plot and defined characters.

 Kestrel may not be an anomaly among strong female leads, but she was different in the sense that she knew her strengths and her weaknesses.  She may have had a weakness when it came to a certain boy, but she also had a lot more kindness in a world where only winning matters.  Kestrel had no problems fitting in on the surface, keeping those around her believing that she was all she was supposed to be, but beneath she was so much more.  This is a girl that has a lot to give and some people can appreciate that she is different, but different is also dangerous.  I'm not sure if I related to her or not but I know that I enjoyed every moment I read her.

  Arin and Kestrel's relationship was super complicated, and yet it was kind of the relationship you would expect.  This is not exactly a bad thing, but it was a budding feeling between people that were on opposite ends of a silent war.  They just worked and the chemistry between them is what helped it be enjoyable to watch develop. Kestrel's unexpected draw to Arin, and Arin's inability to not notice that Kestrel herself is different was actually fun to read.  It's like, I knew that they were going to form something and yet I still invested myself from start to finish. This is probably also due to Rutkoski's aptitude for crafting a riveting read.  

  Honestly, I know many people have already sung this books praises and I am quite behind but I loved it!  Between the non stop pace, to the stunning writing, The Winners Curse was a pure pleasure read from start to finish.  I have no doubt that I will devour the next two books without any regret.  Fans of fantasy will love this read, and I actually wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fans of dystopia's either.

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