{Throwback Thursday Review} The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Posted September 14, 2017 by Leah in Reviews, Throwback Thursday / 2 Comments

{Throwback Thursday Review} The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355
Published on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

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.

3.5 Stars

I’m so late to The Winner’s fandom and I sincerely apologize. Sorry, everyone! 🙂 This series has been on my TBR watchlist since Marie Rutkoski’s appearance at Yallwest last year. How silly of me to not read this one when it first came out though. But I’m here now, so let’s talk about this novel, shall we?

From its complex and fully immersive world building to its tightly woven plot, I found The Winner’s Curse engaging, thrilling, and dynamic. This is categorized as fantasy, but it feels like a historical novel. It features a culture which thrives off conquering other countries. The Valorians reminded me of the Roman Empire and how, at the height of the power, they took over whole countries and cultures. It’s also unsettling to see how they accept this as the norm, but it’s so effective as well when the power shifts.

The danger is always present, and with it, secrets and schemes from both sides. Everyone has something to hide here, whether it’s information or, in the case of our young leads, their feelings for each other. Kestrel is the daughter of Valoria’s beloved general. When it comes to games of skill or wits, she’s always one step ahead. I liked Kestrel a lot. She’s intelligent. She gets things done. She’s not perfect.

After buying Arin, a Herrani boy at the slave auction, Kestrel slowly falls in love with him. And as much as Arin fights it, his feelings for Kestrel change too. I wanted to root for Arin, but there were times when his heart would rule his decisions. It’s great to see a passionate young male lead in YA, but there were times when his words and actions could have landed him in serious trouble View Spoiler ».

Their romance doesn’t cloud their minds, but it does take up a good portion of the book. I’m all about romance. In The Winner’s Curse, the political turmoil should have taken center stage. However, I’ve just finished The Winner’s Crime, and goodness, my emotions are in turmoil.

The Winner’s Curse is a solid, well-thought out, well written novel, one I’m glad I finally had the sense to check out.

 

**Throwback Thursday is our feature for books which were published one or more years ago.

Leah

Leah

Co-Blogger at Quite the Novel Idea
Leah has always been a bibliophile. An avid fantasy fan, she has spent many hours imagining magical worlds and wondering what it would be like to wield a sword. When she's not dreaming up her own standalone fantasy stories, she enjoys watching movies, traveling, and eating chocolate. She lives in California.

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