The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Published March 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Series: The Winner’s Curse | TBA
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. (Source: Goodreads)
I was immediately enthralled by its familiar historical feel. With talk of Empire, Barbarians and Slaves, I built my foundational world in Rome. But I was drawn into the story with a desire to find out more about Kestrel and the slave, Arin.
Kestrel has a gift for strategy. She is smart, intuitive and confident. Her father longs for her to join him in the military, but she’d rather use her gift for gambling in the market. The problem is in a world where women can go into the military, their only other option is marriage. You learn very quickly that Kestrel isn’t typical nor does she care for limited options. She continues to try her father’s patience and snub society with her love of music. Her outlet his playing the piano. The problem is that music is to be enjoyed, taken, but producing is left to slaves.
She sees a similar defiance in Arin, a slave at the auction. Something in her makes her want to know him, to find out why he holds himself proudly. I could feel the ache Arin had for his former life, life before the Valorians conquered his people. And even worse, he starts to witness Kestrel for the woman she is. It gets complicated and that is an understatement.
RUTKOSKI‘s writing is beautiful. I was completely mesmerized and swept away into Kestrel’s world. The building romance and subsequent dilemma played me like a violin. I couldn’t put down the book. It is a story of sacrifice and survival, but at what costs. There is no doubt Kestrel has the WINNER’S CURSE. When I closed the back cover, I stood there with her assessing her choices, her strategy, her heart, and didn’t know what costs were worth the price of winning.
THE WINNER’S CURSE hasn’t even hit stores yet and it is already too long of a wait for the sequel. The storytelling is beautiful, mature and rich. Even with its familiar feel, it was never predictable. Every action felt organic and in keeping with the character and flow of the story. There really aren’t words to express how much I LOVED this book. I need MORE! *stamps feet*