March 12, 2014

Review of The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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.

I heard about The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski several months before it's release date of March 4, 2014 and I was hesitant as to how it would hold out to all the hype surrounding it. Despite not being sure, the description sounded interesting and the cover was gorgeous so I preordered it. The preorder turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever heard made in my life. This book was just so so so good and it definitely lived up to the hype and even surpassed it. 

The Winners Curse had all the components I look for in a book: a richly-crafted plot, romance, and smooth flowing writing. I can't stress this enough, I was hooked into this book within the first couple of chapters. It might start off kind of slow in the beginning but it just keeps on getting better after that, especially in the second-half of the book. The plot itself was very interesting and was one of the main reasons's I got hooked on this book. There was forbidden romance between the two main characters (YES, please) and the writing itself was just fantastic. The romance was implemented into key parts of the book and greatly enhanced it. 

I believe that a good cover can do wonders for a book and the cover for The Winners Curse was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. Have you seen the cover? The cover has a girl (I'm guessing Kestrel, the main character) that is spinning with a beautiful red dress. I remember that during the Oscars someone tweeted a question about what dress from the cover of a YA novel you would wear to the Oscars and I responded (along with a ton of other people) with the cover of The Winner's Curse. I doubt that this book would have become as popular as it did without the cover so I commend the people who made the cover, a job well done.  I've seen some really good covers for books in the past few years but this one is seriously in the top ten. I'm really really hoping that the other two books have dresses (in different colors) on their covers as well.

Ah, here we go, the characters! I fell in love with both of the main characters, Kestrel and Arin. Marie made them so realistic that I felt sad when something bad happened to them and happy when the opposite happened. They kind of reminded me of the two main characters from These Broken Stars. Both sets of characters had one person who was rich (the girl) and one person who was poor (the boys). And of course both had a forbidden romance between the two (one being between a slave and the master and one between a soldier and the world's richest girl). In fact not only did Kestrel and Arin have it hard enough already but they were also from two different opposing country/kingdoms. One point where I got really frustrated with Arin was when he kept on working against Kestrel and the Valorian people even when it was obvious that the two were falling for each other. But despite that, it still crushed me when at the end of the book Kestrel had to leave Arin and marry the emperor's son. Kestrel and Arin were a really good couple and I just wanted them to stay together, however I feel like maybe the emperor's son can be introduced in the following books and create a sort of a love triangle between the three. That would be really interesting to read but also heartbreaking as Kestrel would only be able to pick one of them. Needless to say, Marie did a great job with the characters and had very few flaws.

The book had two countries/kingdoms, the Valorian and the Herrani. The Herrani are now slaves since they were conquered by the Valorian and have lost almost everything they owned. It was really interesting to read about the history of the two and their relationship with each other. Although I feel like the Valorian could have done a better job stopping the Herrani from retaking their land, since the Valorian are supposed to be much stronger than the Herrani. Additionally, both of them had unique and different cultures that contributed to the plot of the book. The one thing that I was disappointed about was that we didn't see any other countries or kingdoms throughout the book. Hopefully we will see them in the sequel since it could affect the characters and the book a lot overall (plus I really really want to know more).

If you liked reading Prophecy and Warrior and/or like reading amazing YA books than The Winners Curse is for you (even if it isn't you should still read as you will like it). There were very few things I didn't like about this book and a ton of things I did like. If you refuse to read this book then I just feel sorry for you and for the people that did read it, you have made a very good choice. The Winners Curse is currently in my top 10 favorite books of 2014 and top 50 overall.

The snow fell on her, it fell on him, but Kestrel knew that no single flake could ever touch them both.

5/5 - Amazing book

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