Book 1 in The Winner's Trilogy
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover // 355 pages
Other books by Rutkoski: The Cabinet of Wonders, The Shadow Society
Filed under: female heroines, forbidden love
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.When The Winner's Curse came out last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. I wasn't interested in reading it because it involves slave culture, but I decided to give it a try due to the numerous praised reviews. If you can't decide whether or not to give The Winner's Curse a chance, here are four reasons that may convince you to!
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 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.
1. It isn't complicated to follow.
Complex worlds and made-up languages tend to draw me away from fantasy books, but The Winner's Curse kept my interest. In fact, the only element of fantasy (that we know of so far) is the fictional world they live in. Their culture is a bit reminiscent of the Roman's — a love for the arts (music, in this case) and architecture are two that stuck out to me. Because the two are so similar, it's easy to imagine.
2. It's worth the slow setup.
It takes a while for things to get interesting but once it kicks in, you will not want to put this book down. When I started The Winner's Curse, I wanted lots of action. Now looking back, I find that the uneventful beginning was necessary for me to familiarize myself with the characters and the world. Without the backstory and time to learn about who Kestrel and Arin are, I would have ended up with different emotions.
3. Kestrel is an awesome heroine.
We get a lot of stories where the guy is on an adventure to rescue the girl-in-waiting, but Kestrel is far from the girl who is waiting for someone to save her. She is independent and headstrong, but makes decisions for the good of her people. She may not be physically strong, but she's dang strategic and smart. It is SO NICE not having to say "you idiot!!!" :p
4. It's not your usual romance story.
There's something about a forbidden, slow-burning romance that makes it all the more better to read, but this one is a little twisted. Both Kestrel and Arin are in unfortunate situations and I've been sitting here, thinking about a way to explain it without being spoilery BUT I CAN'T. Just know that it's a type of romance you've probably never read before.
As someone who doesn't read much fantasy but is trying to ease into it — I loved it. Read this if you like the "government control" aspect of dystopian worlds and are trying to get into fantasy OR if you want to read in the perspective of someone like Clarke from The 100, the television series on CW.
Have you had the chance to read The Winner's Curse yet? Did the hype affect your experience? If you haven't read it yet, are you planning to?