- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: 3/4/2014
- Series: Winner's Trilogy Series , #1
- Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
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.
Not typically one to read this type of book, it sounded too good to pass up. Forbidden love, secrets, lies, and conspiracies!! It had it all. The characters were amazing, and the story was so intriguing. This book is layer upon layer of awesome and I was completely lost in it. I am a sucker for a good love story where the relationship takes work. This is anything but easy, and it's very much back and forth. The best part in this was the total shifts of power from one to the other. This story turned completely around, and then back again and I loved every second.
Kestrel is a rich girl. High in society because of who her father is. She isn't necessarily like him though. She loves music which is thought to be something the slaves do to entertain, not something to waste time with if you are to be married or join the military. Kestral doesn't want to be a soldier. She also doesn't want to marry, but given the choice, she would rather marry off. She loves her music and plays the piano wonderfully. She is very smart, and great at strategizing, which would be a good trait for the military. The only thing is, she lacks fighting skills. After buying Arin at an auction, she starts an odd sort of relationship with him. It isn't romantic, at least not at first, but she likes his companionship. He is a mystery to her too. He knows so much that most of his kind don't. When things get complicated, she realizes that she does care for him, and she isn't sure who's side she is really on. I loved her internal struggle, and thought it was realistic and fit the circumstances. Though she isn't a fighter, she is one super tough chick. Her brains and logic make her strong.
Arin was a character I instantly liked. He was mysterious, but great. Even knowing some of the things that he is planning, I still really liked him. I knew that he was not the good guy, but he was still a good person. I also loved seeing him slowly fall for Kestral even as he fights it. He has had a really rough life. Not just because he is a slave, but the history leading up to how he got to be where he is. I did want to know him better, but I felt that we got to know enough to be able to fall for him. He wasn't an easy character, but he was still really amazing.
The romance is one that isn't really on the surface, but is lingering below. It was there, while still being hidden. They both are denying it themselves, and when it finally is clear, they still aren't really romantic in any way. They aren't two people who could ever really be together, so it really has that tense feeling to it. I loved their interactions and I thought that they were both really great. They really are a good match, but they are on opposite sides of the political ladder. It's not okay for them to mix.
This story was just fabulous. It is very much political, but it was in no way boring. I loved the way that everything unfolded and how quickly the tables can turn. It was an enjoyable journey to go on with these characters. I read this book really quickly because I just couldn't put it down. It had me sucked in and kept me on my toes. There are so many secrets and different plots against one another. I thought that the way it ended was perfect too. It isn't really a cliffhanger, but it is left open to keep us wondering what is going to happen next. I am nervous and excited to see where the story goes from here and I can't wait until the next book comes out!!