- Marie Rutkoski creates a beautiful and haunting world in The Winner's Curse. With nations divided by decades of war and conquest, the winner claims the survivors of the defeated region as servants.
When 17 year old Kestrel, daughter of a high ranking general, goes to market to shop, the last place she attends to visit is the auction house. Her father takes care of choosing the servants for the house, and the slavery of others has never set well with Kestrel. However, she is gripped by the intense eyes and determined constition of a young man brought up to the auction block. Something compels her forward and once their eyes meet she cannot turn away. Before she quite realizes what she has done, she purchases the young man, Arin, as a slave for her family house and risks the wrath of her father.
From opposite sides of society, Arin and Kestrel form an unlikely friendship. Arin can still remember a decade ago when it was his people who held the power and not Kestrel's. His intelligence and wit intrigue Kestrel as her kindness and loyalty intrigues him. Kestrel confides in him her love of music in a time where music is shunned. Arin becomes Kestrels companion to keep her safe on trips, but his protective nature doesn't end there and their time together grows. Little does she know that it can be dangerous to get so lose to Arin.
Arin, son of a nobel family that was brutally overtaken, has dark secrets. His placement in Kestrel's home was not random and his plans may cost her everything. As gossip builds and unrest ungrows, Arin and Kestrel's lives will be put on the line as will everything they hold dear.
A beautiful novel on the price of love, the ties that bind, and the distance we would go to protect the things that matter most. This is a story of trust and betrayal, of war and demise, and of loyalties and love. Rutkoski's characters have depth and realism that make them memorable long past the last pages of the novel. The reader is gripped by their struggles and their feelings transcend the page. The Winner's Curse leaves a lasting impression and a message that will resonate long after the story has ended; sometime's winning is the very worst thing that could happen ...
Justine Eyre does a remarkable job narrating this novel. Her voice adds depth, emotion and life to the characters. Similar to how music can make a moment more gripping, her narration adds to the story, giving the characters voice and making them come alive.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was both heartbreaking and beautiful full of loss but also of hope. It's not a "steamy" read, but a touching romance. My biggest complaint is that this is the first in a series and is very much written as part 1 of a series ... the novel leaves many questions unanswered and I will be sitting on the edge of my seat until the next one comes out. I tend to prefer stories where everything is wrapped up in the end and would have liked some more resolution, but for this one, the journey was well worth the suspense of waiting for book 2!
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.
***RECEIVED THIS AUDIOBOOK FOR EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST REVIEW***