Wednesday 24 December 2014

The Winner's Curse, Marie Rutkoski

Pages: 369
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 10th April 2014
Edition: UK e-book, purchased

Kestrel lives the lavish lifestyle of a Valorian General’s only daughter, and such riches come at a cost for Valoria’s captives – and for her. As the Herrani face death or slavery, Kestrel’s destiny is shaped by her father. He gives her two choices: join his army or get married. Desperate to realise her own future and knowing that it will invite scandal, she pays a small fortune for a handsome Herrani blacksmith at a slave auction. Arin not only plays Kestrel’s power games, he understands what she needs and soon she is torn between loyalty to her people and her feelings for him. But Arin is not all he seems and Kestrel will learn that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

The first novel in a stunning new trilogy, The Winner’s Curse is a story of romance, rumours and rebellion, where dirty secrets and careless alliances can be deadly – and everything is at stake.

I’ve heard really wonderful things about The Winner’s Curse so I finally succumbed and decided to give it a go. While I enjoyed it, it didn’t blow my mind like I was expecting it to.

I think that one of the main reasons that The Winner’s Curse has been so well received is Kestrel. She’s a breath of fresh air. Though she does have a few of the tried and tested traits of dystopian heroines: strength, bravery, badassery, she also turns some tropes on their head. Instead of being a phenomenal fighter, Kestrel is an excellent strategist and can only just hold her own in combat; she’s one of the rich and privileged; the revolution doesn’t start with her and she is sharp and brittle and not always likable. She’s brilliant.

Arin is a strong and refreshing character as well, but together, I just didn’t feel it. Though there was clearly a crush brewing and some hints at feeling, I felt like there was sudden instalove as the revolution truly began. It seemed to go from minor flirtations to doing incredibly risky things for each other and it just didn’t sit right with me. I think this aspect of The Winner’s Curse really took away some of my enjoyment of the novel; if the relationship between Arin and Kestrel could have continued in the way of the slow burn of the beginning I really think I would have taken to it whole-heartedly.

Though Marie Rutoski’s debut didn’t blow me away, I did enjoy it and I’m looking forward to digging into the sequel, The Winner’s Crime after such a strong set up at the end of the first instalment!


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