**I borrowed this book from my local library. No monies changed hands.This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
The Winner's Curse is one of those books that has the book reading community falling all over themselves in order to rate the book 4 stars or higher. Let's call me the black sheep of the family, and get on to the reasons why even though I liked the overall story line, I didn't think it was the best thing since the invention of the internet.
The premise of the story is actually quiet simplistic in a Romeo meets Juliet sort of way except for the part where they don't actually die in the end. You have a rich, spoiled in many ways teenager in Kestrel who is the daughter of one of the most notorious/respected generals in the Vallorian Army. She has been told that she has only two choices to make; join the army, or marry at the age of 21. Simple perhaps for a lesser character who doesn't have her own agenda, or goals like continuing to play her piano, or running off and falling for a Herrani slave.
Kestrel is portrayed as an intelligent individual who also happens to have a brain for strategy. This boggles my mind when subsequent events happen right under her nose including a major betrayal, a revolution, and her friends and country men slaughtered right under her nose while she pines away for a person she purchases as a slave. Kestrel's actions have me questioning what she will do next since she's boxed herself into a corner without any lifelines around to save her.
I will give Arin a whole lot of credit. For 10 years he's lived and slaved under the Vallorian regime. While he's had several different owners, he started putting into play a way to exact his revenge in a brilliant strategic move for the loss of his family and his country. He's determined to use anyone, including Kestrel, to get exactly what he wants and goes about it in a way that is both brilliant and cunning.
Does it really matter that he presumes that he loves Kestrel while she is as confused as they come, and therefore they are fated to be together when they have pretty much nothing in common and he betrayed her to the fullest? Obviously, this is the first book in the series, and Rutkoski has a long way to go before she reveals her deviousness in all its glory. The ending to The Winner's Curse left us with a major decision by Kestrel and an agonizing moment for Arin.
This fact has left fellow readers screaming for the sequel to pop up on their kindles, or bookstores, or publisher's ARCs. I will say this in my defense, I fell for the synopsis, the cover, and friends who have raved about this book for months. Readers need to read this book at their own pace, and stay away from raves that may slant their personal feelings about the book.
Author - Marie Rutkoski
Title - The Winner's (The Winner's Trilogy)
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Released: March 4, 2014
Genre - Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Copy - Hardcover 355 pages