The Winner's Curse
(Winner's Trilogy # 1)
By: Marie Rutkoski
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Source: Borrowed from a friend
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.
The Winner's Curse seems to be the most talked about book lately, and I was so excited when my friend Jenn lent me her copy to read. I started it right away, and loved every single moment of it. Marie Rutkoski did a wonderful job with the world building. The writing was fast paced as well, and there was never a dull moment. The story is told in duel point of view, which is something I am always a fan of.
While at the market, Kestrel and her friend stumble upon a slave auction. The next thing she knows, she spends way too much money on a slave. Once back at the house, Arin becomes the blacksmith for the home. Eventually the two of them start to spend time together and this is where the story really starts to take off. Arin was such an interesting guy. A slave for 10 years, he is very good at hiding his thoughts and feelings. You can tell right away that he is full of secrets and I enjoyed so much learning about him. Kestrel was someone I never really warmed up too. I never trusted her, and fact of the matter is I just didn't like her. I didn't think she was a good person. The ending definitely made me see her in another light though, and I am interested to see what happens with her and Arin in the next book.
The Winner's Curse deals with two different groups of people-the Valorians who are the conquerors and the Herrani, the conquered. About 10 years ago, the Valorians came in and basically destroyed the Herrani way of life. What made this so interesting, and also very sad, is that the Herrani are now slaves in their old households. It almost broke my heart when I learned about Arin and his past. The way that Rutkoski introduced their history was interesting. I enjoyed that she added pieces on the information throughout the story, instead of all at once.