The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
No spoilers and colorful language abound!
I fucking love this book.
I have had two glasses of wine, read and re-read the plethora of notes and quotes I recorded, and am now listening to music in hopes of finding one shred of an eloquent thought. Alas I am at a loss. The Winners Curse is one of the most promising new trilogy debuts in 2014 that I've had the pleasure of reading. Rutkoski has woven an enthralling tale in a richly imagined world filled with political machination, forbidden love and the inherent struggle found in finding ones own way.
We are introduced to Kestrel, a young woman with a brilliant mind and defiant spirit. She is the daughter of the highest ranking general in the Valorian army, living on the conquered peninsula of Herran and waited on by it's enslaved people. I liked her from page fucking one. In fact my admiration for her only grew as she stepped into her own and out from under the shadow of her father's expectations. The Valorian way of life encourages wit, brutality and an unwavering sense of entitlement so when she stumbled into the pit hosting a slave auction only to find a grey eyed slave daring to staring back at her, I couldn't help but smile. It was that rebellious glare that spoke to Kestrel in a way she couldn't even articulate, but you could just feel it consuming them both in the most enchanting-slow-building-moth-to-a-fucking-flame way.
Honestly, just YES.
Arin is a deliciously complicated character, one who is so justifiable in his existence that even Kestrel cannot begrudge him. A young Herrani aristocrat who witnessed the slaying of his entire family only to be taken in as a salve, stoking the fire for his rebellious nature. The intricate dance they preformed throughout this left my heart fluttering, I wanted more, I do want more. I tend to stay away from reviews of books I haven't read yet, but I did a little grazing and can I just say NOPE to the mention of a love triangle. That's all I say on that, it simply does not exist, men might be interested in her, but she is always clear on who she is and what she wants.
Kestrel and Arin set out on a path that will leave you reeling, it's so much more than some silly love story. It speaks on so much more than that, and I for one am completely and utterly hooked.
Also, that last 2% upped the ante. LIke, for real, yo. This is one of my favorites for the year, which I don't say lightly. Absolutely spectacular!
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