The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski left me breathless. This masterpiece was amazing. impactful. lovely.
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.
This book is the story of two quiet heroes who exist in a complicated world and come together in a beautifully, complicated way. They both struggle with fixing the injustices of their world, while still staying loyal to their heritage. This story answers the question: What are you willing to sacrifice for the one you love? The answer: everything.
From the moment the main protagonist, Kestrel, locks eyes with the slave boy, Arin, at the auction. I was sold. Just as Kestrel bought Arin, Marie Rutkoski bought me as a reader, enslaving me to her majestic story. I can’t even begin to put into words how amazing this story is. It certainly lives up to all the hype.
The dynamic between Kestrel and Arin was a special kind of painful pleasure. I loved Arin’s vulnerability yet mysterious plotting. I loved Kestrel’s steel yet strategic thinking. There were special moments where the barriers were broken briefly, creating the most romantic crescendo of passion that was too quickly snuffed out. They are perfectly matched, making for a suspenseful journey to love.
One of my favorite scenes was the duel. I loved why Kestrel decided to do it but mostly loved how she won. She is such a strong, female heroine with a brilliant mind, and the author leaves the reader just enough in the dark to be left just as dumbfounded and breathless as the spectators looking on.
This story had beautiful world-building and explained music in such a way that the lyrical prose practically sang in my mind. The ending left me speechless and set up the next book so well that I can’t wait to see what happens next. The anticipation is killing me! The second book in this trilogy, The Winner’s Crime, comes out in March 2015.
STARS: 5 out of 5