Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Read This: The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
The Goodreads Summary Says:
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 sneaky book came in at the end of the year and became my favorite read of 2014
The Winner's Curse is just so good. Initially I was worried because it's technically a fantasy, but it's not at all a traditional fantasy. I was interested from start to finish. The world is reminiscent of Rome (and other military/conquesting societies). Kestrel, the general's daughter, is a terrible fighter but an excellent strategist. And she finds herself unwittingly buying a slave for a ridiculous price. It's then that the idea of the winner's curse is brought up - where a person has won at such a price that they've really lost. That idea weaves itself throughout the plot, as Kestrel, Arin, the Valorians and the Herrani all try to navigate how much they're willing to lose to get what they want.
I loved that whole set up for the plot, and I really enjoyed the characters. Although Kestrel had a few moments where I thought she was giving up too much information to a slave (her father was so important in society I'm surprised she didn't think more people might be out to get them). But I still believed her, for the most part, and Arin. I liked that the author was able to make me want both characters to have what they wanted, even though they both couldn't be "winners."And then the end left me feeling gutted and wanting the sequel ASAP.