Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Date Read: 7/24/15 to 8/1/15
355 pages

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.

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Oh The Winner's Curse. I don't even know where to start. This was my last book to read for the Make Me Read It Readathon, and it was pretty phenomenal. Throughout the book, I felt conflicted about who to support. Should I support Kestral and the Valorians? Or Arin and the enslaved Herrani? 

I have no idea who to support

When it comes to world-building, I can definitely see this as more historical fiction rather than fantasy. We're introduced to Kestral, who's the daughter of the military general of the Valorians. She's a great strategist, but not so much a great fighter. She is also somewhat sympathetic to the Herrani, freeing her Herrani nurse on one of her birthdays.

And then Arin comes along and RUINS everything! As a new slave recently bought by Kestral at an auction, Arin uses his new "status" to scope out the residence. Unfortunately, Kestral never discovers his intentions in time, and plus she pretty much gives him free reigns (why?). Oh and obviously there is romance, which kind of puts a damper on Arin's plan.

SO I AM CONFLICTED. Should I support Arin and his rebellion? The fact that the Herrani were forced from their land and enslaved is a great reason for that. But then there's also Kestral, who's pretty much had her life ruined because of Arin. Kestral holds a spot in my heart because she's musically talented. And just seeing her in such a predicament makes me sad.

I guess when it comes to Valorian vs. Herrani, I'm glad that the Herrani rebelled in the end. 

  My only problem is that it was kind of slow at points

Especially the parts where Kestral was stuck with Arin. At that point there wasn't really anything plot wise happening, other than what was happening in the background. There were also some points before the rebellion where the plot slowed down a bit.

However, I can say that the romance was executed well. It wasn't instalove, and Kestral's emotions concerning Arin's betrayal were realistically done. Obviously her feelings for him will change after everything's he's done to her. 

Overall, I really liked The Winner's Curse. It wasn't perfect, and it was slow at times, but it still was a fun read. Though I do have to say that I do not think this is fantasy at all, but more of a historical fiction-like genre.
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