Friday, April 18, 2014

Tori's Review: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 4, 2014
Fantasy | Young Adult | Romance
355 Pages
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.
Two words come to my mind when I think of The Winner's Curse: world building.
I think Rutkoski crafted this novel in a way so that readers could feel as though they knew the world that they were in while reading the book. If there's one thing I'm sure about when it comes to The Winner's Curse, it's the setting of the novel. The wars leading up to the entirety of the plot are described in battle strategies, which makes it seem ever more real. Each side of the war had strengths and weaknesses that were clearly discussed in the novel, which I think makes it even stronger. 
While the world building and writing was absolutely amazing, the characters weren't as amazing. Yes, they were realistic, but I just didn't like what they stood for or represented. I get that readers were supposed to fall in love with Arin, but I just didn't. His personality wasn't to my liking. He was resentful and full of hate, not to mention his betrayal toward Kestrel. (Not a spoiler. You discover this within the first 50 pages.) He simply wasn't a character I enjoyed. 
While Kestrel wasn't as bad, she was explained as a superb battle strategist, but as a reader I never really got to see that side of her. She was always fawning over Arin or gossiping with Ronan or Jess rather than planning, which is what's she's known for. Also, in one scene she was dueling with this guy, and she ends up talking to him in the middle of the fight. 
In the middle of the freaking fight, and nobody questions it. If it were a few exchanged words, I'd be okay with it, but this was a full blown conversation. It just didn't sit right with me.

Finally, the last thing that got on my nerves about The Winner's Curse was the fact that by the end of the novel, I felt like it should've been two separate books. 

Book one: Pre-Revolution
Book two: Post-Revolution

With all the hype that surrounded this book, I expected a lot more. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy this book, because I did. I'm just saying that while the world building is lovely, the characters are irritating and just don't make sense. I thought this book was going to be fantasy, but it wasn't. So if you're looking for fantasy, this is not the place. It's more contemporary than anything, to be fair. Still, I'm excited to see what's in store for Kestrel and Arin since the end left us readers at a bit of a loss. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment! If you leave a link to one of your posts, I will probably return the favor! (: