|Title: The Winner's Curse|
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Rutkowski
Published: March 4, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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.
Seriously everyone raves about this series. I feel like I am one of the last people in the blogosphere to read it. But with The Winner's Crime having come out last week I figured this was my opportunity. I had high hopes for this series because of all the amazing reviews I've seen, and I was not at all disappointed. It's a refreshing and interesting YA Fantasy read with a fascinating world and great characters.
One of the more refreshing things about The Winner's Curse was the world and the world-building. This is the kind of book that I would recommend to people who are new to fantasy because the world is more on the subtle side. As a person who likes their fantasy really fantastical I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. There was no magic or mythical creatures but there was tons of political intrigue. The society that Marie created was reminiscent of Ancient Greece with warring city states that have very different ideals. Our main character Kestrel is from the Spartanesque society and she lives in a conquered land where the people are enslaved. As the book develops that becomes the main basis for the plot and I don't want to give anything away so I'll stop explaining it there. But I found the different cultures really interesting and the idea of seeing the oppressed land from the eyes of a "conquerer" was such a unique concept. It was a very unique and captivating world different from the typical YA fantasy.
But I think what surprised me most about this book is that the plot and pacing was slower than I like but it didn't take away from the enjoyment of the book. It sets up the world, it introduces you to the characters, and it builds the suspense. Then halfway through when the plot starts to pick up you're so hooked you can't put it down. Maybe I'm just getting used to this in first books in a series. I usually get annoyed that they're not telling me anything but here I didn't really mind. Or maybe it was because there was a lot of dramatic irony in this book. That's also kind of hit or miss for me. I don't often like knowing things that the characters don't know but instead of making them seem unintelligent it made them more complex and interesting.
The Winner's Crime is one of the most refreshing and interesting YA fantasy I have read in a long time. It was so captivating and I can't wait to keep going with the series. (I have it on hold at the library, if only they would process the book. How long does that take? No seriously, how long?)
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Regardless if you are a fantasy newbie or a frequent reader of the genre, this book is work a read. It is refreshing and interesting with a fascinating world, complex characters, and an interesting plot that will draw you in then take for a thrilling ride.
Have you read The Winner's Curse? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!