Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutsoki

by - 12:51 AM

The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published Date: March 4, 2014
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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.
What a bloody surprise! Yes pun intended. At first I was hesitant reading this since recent overly hyped books tend to disappoint me, but once upon a time someone in twitter tweeted this photo and finally I bit the bait. Thank you, FierceReads! Aye, don't give me a stink eye. I know, I know. Haha.
“Happiness depends on being free, Kestrel's father often said, and freedom depends on being courageous.”
The Winner's Curse is an enticing fantasy book, with solid & distinct world-building, impressive characters, perplex political dispute and delicious slow-burn romance. Beautifully written! The prose is just so whimsical and enthralling. The author was so detailed and vivid in narrating, describing and illustrating the series of events and the internal monologue of the characters. I love love novels that focus on wars!! Being an avid fan of movies like Troy, 300, Helen of Troy, Wrath of the Titans etc and books like Prince Caspian, Percy Jackson series, Legend trilogy, etc, I was so thrilled that as I read, read, read I learned that this book is about colonization and war among empires.
“Cold without, color within. This was how it had been.” 
Kestrel is a striking character; not on the physical means, but she is exceptional with her logical thinking, canny strategies and keen senses. She's not a Valorian warrior, she's a strategist, but that doesn't hinder her physical capability to fight. She's different from her own kind of high power. She's kind-hearten, responsible, strong-willed, but just like any other human, she has her own weaknesses. Arin on the other hand is a jaundiced character all through out the book. He is mysterious & sharp-witted, a Herran who seeks revenge on the Valorians for conquering their land and killing his people. At first, his character was closed book, it's hard to really like him when he keep everything so minimal; the way he talks; and even his slightest introspection. But I found myself loving him at the end. Guess why? He reminds me of Day of Legend. He both posses physical and strategic advantage. Not to mention how genuine he is.

The romance was a painful reminder that everything has a price. Although Arin and Kestrel started as mistress-slave relationship,underneath those stares and gazes is the burning attraction and unsaid feelings. I ache for them. They've been through a lot of betrayal and heartbreak that it's so hard to keep stomaching each agonizing moment where they treat each other as enemies. BUT WE GOT TO HAVE A COUPLE OF "RIGHT-IN-THE-FEELS" MOMENT and I am very much grateful for that!!!
He lifted her up onto the table so that her face was level with his, and as they kissed it seemed that words were hiding in the air around them, that they were invisible creatures that feathered against her and Arin, then nudged, and buzzed, and tugged.
Speak, they said.
Speak, the kiss answered.
The explanation of "The Winner's Curse" totally swept me off my feet - I AM SOLD! It's a win-lose scenario. HA. I loved how it was incorporated on the ROMANCE (yes the author did), and on the aspect of keeping claim of power, and imperium. I also loved how the author gave attention to the society, music, Bite and Sting (where can I play this?!) and friendship.

All in all, The Winner's Curse is a well-written fantasy book that will surely make the readers hold their breathe, hold onto their chairs, their beds. Prepare to be angry, sad, ache, touched, happy, anxious, eager all at the same freaking time!!!! I really enjoyed this although I have one problem: I was so mad at the ending!!1 CLIFFHANGER? *winks* *fail to wink ends up looking like someone having a stroke*
“You don't, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you. ”
Recommendations: To anyone who loves YA fantasy, a painful romance (HAHA), blood & gore, contemptible antagonists, well-plotted war! And to everyone reading this. (you see that coming, right?)

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  1. Ooh, such a great review, Abby! I really need to read this book!

  2. Now I'm really glad I bought the book. The hype surrounding this book is crazy. Even though I ordered it I didn't want to read it right away, just because of the hype. I do get you. I've also ended up disappointed so many times and now I'm cautious.
    Mistress-slave relationship? Oh,my... :D That sure must be interesting.


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