The Winner's Curseby Marie Rutkoski (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
on March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Heather: I usually don’t read historical novels, especial fantasy. I’m not a big fan of having to muddle through complex descriptions of strange worlds or long forgotten history. But the description of this one was interesting, so I gave it a go–and I’m certainly very glad that I took a chance on The Winner’s Curse.
Danny: When I got the chance to read The Winner’s Curse I was all excited! I love Fantasy and I love Marie Rutkowski so I eagerly started reading!
Fantastic Blend of magical setting, forbidden Romance and dangerous politics!
Heather: The Winner’s Curse is such a fantastic blend of forbidden romance and light-handed historical world building. It took me no time at all to feel right at home in this past world where Kestrel’s war-minded people had conquered the cultured, artsy Herrani and enslaved those that they hadn’t killed during the invasion. Kestrel is rich and privileged as the daughter of the Valorian general, and she thinks that she’s doing her father a favor when she buys a strong, male blacksmith slave for her father (at least she tells herself that’s the reason). What really drew her attention was that the auctioneer said that the boy could sing, and that was a trait that Kestrel really admired and was drawn to.
Danny: With me being me, I of course especially loved the romance part. It was so so sooooo fantastic! Bur just as Heather said, Kestrel was a fantastic heroine who helped us navigating through the story, the specifics of this world and the politics behind it. Thankfully, it was never boring and dull, instead it was rather exciting to figure out the details. It also helps that Kestrel is such an unusual character. She could have everything she wished for, yet she does not shy away from questioning the rules!
Arin – silent Slave… or is there more to him?
Heather: Kestrel takes the slave home, and right from the start he’s anything but an obedient servant. Arin is as rebellious as he can be without being killed, but he knows that Kestrel has shown him favor when she allows him to be her escort around town and to society functions. But Arin’s crafty and observant, and he can’t keep his mouth shut or his protective side impassive when Kestrel is put in harms way.
Danny: Oh Arin was so interesting. In the beginning I had a hard time figuring him out and also Kestrel has a hard time with him. He is silent and observant and it’s easy to see how hard he takes it being a slave even though he tries to hide it. But, he fails 🙂 I loved figuring out his secrets and .. believe it, but Arin is full of secrets that will make our world turn!
Arin changes Kestrel…
Heather: Kestrel is at the point in her life where she must either marry or pledge her life to the military. Her father is pressing the issue even though she can’t fight very well after years of training. But Kestrel is a brilliant strategist and has amazing observation skills, so she would be good at some military planning. She has a very small group of friends and she doesn’t relish trying to find a husband, so her options for her future are very limited.
Wonderful, sweet Romance!
Heather: The more time that Kestrel and Arin spend together, the more people are talking around the city–both Valorian and Herrani. As they get to know each other better and the situation changes, the power one holds over the other swings, and their relationship gets even more complicated and deep. The slow build between them is amazing.
Danny: The romance between them was fantastic! It was slow but wonderfully developed. They slowly realised that they seek each other out, instead of turning away, and it takes some time for both of them to realize that they slowly fall in love! Truly this forbidden Romance definitely was one of the best part about this story!
Heather: The Winner’s Curse is a lovely blend of political intrigue, historical world building, slow burn romance where the power balance swings back and forth. The writing is simply breathtaking and gorgeous, fast paced and free from the dreaded info-dumping that can plague many fantasy novels.
Danny: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski was simply amazing, grabbing me right from the beginning and not letting go until I turned the last page! Featuring outstanding characters entangled in a love story that connects thrilling politics and a touching star-crossed romance made The Winner’s Curse a stellar tale.