The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

16069030The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Published: March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux

Source: purchased

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 picked this book up months ago and got about 1/3 of the way through and put it aside. I was enjoying it but nothing was happening. I ended up picking it back up and starting from the beginning but this time ended up listening to the audiobook.

I liked this book, I didn’t love it. I think I would have loved it but I had SO many expectations going in because everyone was raving about it. Everything kept falling short for me but I think it’s because i kept waiting to get blown away.

One thing I really liked about this book was it’s fantasy setting without magic. I have a deep love for fantasy and really like reading one that was different and unique from what I have been reading in that genre lately. I have heard people be confused about how to categorize this book but in my eyes it is a solid fantasy. I would probably end up subcategorized into fantasy with strong historical connections. If you are new to fantasy and want to give the genre a try, this might be the book for you. There aren’t too many fantastical scenarios and you don’t have a ton of fantasy terms (usually made up for the specific series).

In the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book I wasn’t sold on the romance. There wasn’t anything wrong with it but it wasn’t working in my mind but somewhere in the last 1/3 I started wanting it. Krestel and Arin weren’t in the same room enough for me. Romance between these two is hard since one is a slave and the other is the master. I think Rutkoski did a wonderful job at making the relationship seem genuine and it has me interested to see where the relationship goes.

The Winner’s Crime (book 2) is really going to make or break this series for me. At this point I am interested enough to continue reading the series and early reviews have me excited. I know a few trusted reviewers are telling me they thought book 1 was just ok but book 2 has them in love with this series. Hopefully I get a chance to start The Winner’s Crime soon!

The audiobook is absolutely fantastic. Justine Erye has quickly become one of my favorite audiobook narrators. She did wonderful accents for each character but also did a great job at vocal range and pitches. There were scenes where she would whisper and it gives me chills just thinking about it! She put so much emotion in everything that was said, it added a whole nother layer to the story. I highly, highly recommend listening to this audiobook even if you have already read the story.

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