Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Winner's Curse

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Winning doesn't always get you what you want.

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Info: Farrar Straus Giroux, copyright 2014, 355 pages

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. 

~Goodreads Description~

The Awesome
Kestrel is smart.  She's, like, really smart.  She assess situations, strategizes results, and uses her cunning to keep herself safe.  Kestrel is also wickedly stubborn, unbelievable talented, and terrifyingly cunning.  She has sharp wit and fierce tongue.  Don't mess with Kestrel.

Then there's Arin.  Angry, handsome, equally stubborn Arin who wants a better life for his people, but lacks the vicious nature that would make him the leader.  Arin muddles everything up.  You want to trust him, but you don't know if you can.

I kept expecting something supernatural to happen.  I kept waiting for Kestrel to discover a power, or a dragon to sweep down from the sky...but it didn't, and that made this book especially awesome.  It almost reads like historical fiction, if you lived in this imagined land of warriors and workers.  The story rests on excellent character development and world building, not cheap tricks.

The Not So Awesome
Not applicable :)

A great read.  Really, Marie Rutkoski hit it out of the park.  The ending is espescially harsh (why oh why didn't I wait for the second to come out before tackling the first!)  If you're a fan of strong female characters, military strategy, forbidden love, and a good old fashioned duel, check out The Winner's Curse.

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