13 May, 2016


Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Kindle Edition
Pages: 369

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SYNOPSIS: 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.
I had seen a lot of book bloggers talk about this trilogy and it sounded as something I would like, and you were right! I loved this book!

THE WORLD: This is a fantasy world where one empire conquered another. The Valorians conquered the Herrani's lands so now there is the Valorian Empire which is very powerful and the Valorians use Herrani people as slaves... well they are slaves, they're sold in the market to rich Valorian families and they end up doing all house work, entertaining the family with music, making them weapons, etc. The Valorian Empire has a king and he banned music for all Valorians because it's considered "low class" since Herrani people loved it and played it at all times.
Here is a map:

CHARACTERS: The main character is Kestrel, a 17 year old Valorian girl. Daughter of the Empire's General, Trajan. Obviously she is very rich and well respected in the community therefore. She is also trained in military strategy and self-defense but she doesn't like it and doesn't want to follow her father's footsteps. She wants to be a musician, she loves piano and plays well! You see the problem right? the Valorian Empire has banned music and if Kestrel played she would be seen as a deviant and low-class troublemaker. Anyway, one day Kestrel goes to the market with her rich friend, Jess, and she ends up buying a Herrani slave a bit by accident I must say... she brings him home and they start talking because they both love music. She discovers that his real name is Arin and not Smith, that's how his previous master called him. They get into a sort of game-dynamics and start getting to know each other but alas, everything is fair in love and war! Turns out there is a mix of both!
The Herrani people are organizing themselves to fight back and start a rebel uprising, Kestrel is given the choice of marriage or military service by her father, Jess' brother -Ronan- is interested in Kestrel, but Kestrel is not interested in Ronan...

LOVE: There is barely any love in this book although I bet there will be more in the next ones.

PLUS: Everything! The story itself is not that original because you see Empires in YA a lot and wars, etc but it was well written and it was interesting nonetheless. I loved the characters, specially Kestrel and Arin. Also, there is a lot going on! As I mentioned above there is a war coming up but there is also drama and Kestrel/Arin have some difficult decisions ahead ugh I don't even know how Marie is going to play it out...

There are no real plot twists actually because everything is pretty straightforward from the beginning but trust me when I say that you won't want to stop reading this book!

MINUS: I had no major minuses. I really liked it.

OVERALL: 5 stars and if the next books end up being as good as this, it will go to my favorites!

What did you guys think about THE WINNER'S CURSE?