Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Ruthkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Girour
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.
This book is set in a fantasy land were the Valorian, who are warlike people, have taken over the land of the Herrani's and have enslaved them. It is set in the time were the Herrani's are gearing up a revolution to break free from the Valorians. The two main characters are Kestrel, the daughter to a Valorian general, and Arin, a Herrani slave with a very interesting past. One of the things I loved about this book was the world. I really loved learning about this world! It had its parallels in our world, it reminded me of the Roman Empire with its architecture and society, but it also had its own feel to it. I also loved reading about the history of the Valorians and the Herranies. You could tell that the author really thought about the world and history a lot and that makes fantasy books so much better.
The writing in this book was just outstanding! It was beautiful and in some places downright poetic. I just loved this woman's writing! And she could writing some characters too. All of the characters in this book were so fleshed out and had so much depth! She also put in great characters arcs for both of the main characters and I loved seeing them grow!
What really made this book for me was the theme that the author did a great job weaving into this story. The author put the theme that there are never clear lines on who is bad and who is good. Just because your race of people enslaved doesn't mean you had anything to do with it, doesn't mean you deserve the same fate the slaves got. And just because you got enslaved by a race of people doesn't mean you have the right to murder everyone. I just loved how she blurred the lines between right and wrong and how that wreaked havoc on Kestrel's judgement and consequence.
I also loved the romance in this book. It was so well done!! The author gradually built on their relationship so they slowly fell for one another and that made it feel so realistic! Added to the fact that the romance was actually done right was the that Kestrel and Arin just worked together. They just fit each other and that made it so much harder to not get obsessed when I read this and I did get obsessed while reading this. I just loved reading their relationship developed and savored every scene that did just that.
This book was great in my eyes.The plot never lost my interest, the characters were great, and the love story was amazing. However, I can understand why some people would get disappointed. This book's plot is very politically based. The Herrani revolution is coming up and Kestrel has to chose which side she is on. However, even though the plot is politically driven, it is not politically focused. This book was more about the love affair between Kestrel and Arin and how the situation between their two races affect their relationship instead of the opposite. If you go into this thinking you'll get this great book about political intrigue and revolutions you'll be half right, since those factors are in this book, but Kestrel and Arin's relationship takes center stage. I wasn't bothered by this because I love love stories and their relationship was just so well done, but if you read this book because you want a political intrigue story you will be greatly disappointed with how little that aspect is highlighted.
Overall I loved this book! It was perfectly written and kept my attention the whole way! I loved the characters and got so invested in their stories and I fell in love with Kestrel's and Arin's relationship and love story! And with that ending I can not wait to get my hands on the sequel!! I would recommend to anyone who likes Fantasy and love stories, but to avoid being disappointed do not go into this one expecting a huge story of political intrigue.
This book got...
Beautiful, this is a great book.
Recommended if you like:
Fantasy, Love stories, and The Kiss of Deception.