Title: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Synopsis: Kestrel, a General’s daughter, lives in a world where her people enslave others through a system of war and conquering. For her part, Kestrel has remained aloof from this world, it’s been apart of her life for so long she barely notices the difference between her station and that of the enslaved nations. However, that all changes after she purchases a young-male slave named Arin. Arin’s got baggage and he’s also up to no good, but he an Kestrel can’t seem to stay away from one another. Soon they find themselves questioning whether their loyalty to their respective nations is as strong as their loyalty to one another.
So Kestrel here has been sitting on my ‘to read’ shelf since March of last year. Every time I looked over for a book she stared me down like, “Why the hell aren’t you reading me!” Finally, after much waiting I picked her up and began learning more about the world Rutkoski created. I was pleased to find out all of the hype was well deserved. Kestrel is one of my new favorite book ladies and her romance with Arin was gripping. I couldn’t put this book down, it sucked me into a vortex of crazy politics, hot romance, and back stabbing good times.
What I liked: I loved the character development in this story. I’m all about my characters, and when I come across a plot that’s as driven by all the players as this one is I remember why I love characterization so much. In this book, everyone has an agenda, whether it’s anarchy, freedom, love, sex…everyone is motivated by some sort of internal device which drives their actions in the story. The progression that each character take (and I’m not just talking about our protagonists here) starts to chip away at the world they are living in, slowly showing the nation’s weakness. It was just incredible to watch the story unfold that way. I felt like these were real people, living in a real country. The Winner’s Crime, lacks some of the unrealistic nature I often find in YA characters and it was refreshing to see the slow burn of the plot eventually build into an epic crescendo.
What I didn’t like: I absolutely loved everything about this book aside from the ending. I wanted to punch Kestrel in the face. I get it, killing people is bad, but ya know what, so is slavery and I can’t really hate on Arin in this situation.
Overall, this book is excellent. I loved how detailed and engaging the plot is throughout the book. There was never a time when the action starts to drop off, and each scene was as unpredictable as the next. I’m anxiously awaiting The Winner’s Crime to hit shelves in March.