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 love this book.
I might be obsessed.
While I was disappointed in the lack of fantasy, the writing and the story itself make up for it tenfold. Seriously.
You’ve read the blurb.
You have an idea what this is about.
Yes, two countries at war and I mean that in the past and present tense. Enter: the Valorians and the Herrani.
“Happiness depends on being free, Kestrel’s father often said, and freedom depends on being courageous.”
Kestrel who happens to be the General’s daughter and Valorian, becomes friends with Arin, a Herrani slave after she aquired him at the auction. Becoming friends might be a strong statement to make but that’s what it evolves to, eventually.
Our fearless heroine is probably one of my favorites that I’ve encountered so far. She’s all about embracing her feminine side but her strength is being a strategist and HO BOY does that talent ever come in handy during war time.
“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”
Arin is just brilliant. He keeps his eye on the prize even though it feels like a betrayal, it isn’t. At least that’s not the way I perceived it to be. There’s more to Arin than being a slave and slowly but surely those details are revealed.
This is how a forbidden romance should be written. There’s no insta-love and it all started over a game of cards. There’s not even a mention of how handsome he is or how stunning she is, nothing. Feelings are developed over time and through secrets that are shared. And that, boys and girls felt incredibly genuine.
Marie Rutkoski has delivered a beautifully written story about a Valorian and Herrani that despite all odds, fall in love. *dreamy sigh*
Oh and I should mention, the ending is gut-wrenching.
“I agree,” Arin said, “under one condition. You mentioned emissaries. There will be one emissary from the empire. It will be you.”
You might want to hold out reading this book until The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy, #2) is released on 3/5/2015. Just sayin’.