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.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Number of Pages: 368
Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
The Winner's Curse will definitely be one of my favorites of 2014 (and maybe of all time?). I realize we're only two months into the year, but it's that good. The book is clever and smart, and I love books that can impress me with its world-building, wit and unique characters.
I would call this a historical fiction novel, though it is fake history. The Heranni and Valorians have really interesting characteristics. Different than most I've seen. The Valorians are "savages" and beautiful with light hair and eyes, while the Heranni are cultured and dark-haired/dark-eyed.
The two main characters, Kestrel and Arin, were both so much fun. They are both stubborn and keen. Kestrel isn't the typical fighter, even though she's a Valorian. She's a strategist, and still super badass. I saw a lot of myself in her, as well as aspects I wish I had (the badassness). Arin and Kestrel's love was not instantaneous in any way. I'd compare it to Perry and Aria's of Under the Never Sky in that you get to watch the characters grow into their love, which is more fun anyway. I crave romances like Arin and Kestrel's! So much tension!
Basically, there wasn't a single thing I didn't enjoy about this book. If you haven't heard from other reviews, this novel is woven with beautiful prose. Marie Rutkoski knows what she's doing. I was so impressed by the world she created and how she showed it to readers.
This story is action-packed, tensed with romance and rich with a history that is believable. I would absolutely recommend it for anyone looking for a skillfully constructed novel. I have a strong feeling you won't be disappointed in the slightest!
This book hits shelves March of 2014!
Buy Hardcover | $17.99
Rachel, age 18