Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK Childrens Books
Page Count: 359
Buy It: Book Depository
My Rating: 5 Stars
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.
The Winners Curse is a beautiful book, the story of the Valorians and the Herrani had me hooked from the first page. The world building in this book is richly imagined, the politics, culture and history of this cleverly layered world is so vidid and well described. Marie manages to paint us her setting in just a handful of words, making the story so vivid and beautiful it was like watching a play unfold in my mind - and an intense one at that. Her writing style is beautiful, so immersive and poetic, making the story not only brilliant overall but also sentence by sentence.
Kestrel is a unique protagonist because her strength is internal and she relies on her intelligence and quick thinking over physical strength. She's sly, strategic and her love for music is heartwarming. She's a very likeable character, and when she buys Arin from the slave auction the story goes from strength to strength.
We are presented with two equally strong characters who have a deep connection, an undeniable chemistry, but cannot be together for reasons out of their control. The Winners Curse is the perfect blend of both character and plot driven story, making it very difficult to put down. But I wasn't just interested in the romance between Kestrel and Arin, I was invested in this battle between the Herrani and the Valorians, completely pulled into the politics and history of the world.
This book was a rollercoaster of romance, betrayal, shifting alliances and power struggles. So, basically I loved it.
I gave The Winners Curse 5/5 stars, and I also filmed a video review on YouTube.