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

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books on 3rd July 2014
Pages: 368
Source: *Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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.
Incredibly unique and thought provoking, it was dated to an era not many authors dare to enter... And Rutkoski did it seamlessly! The cover is absolutely beautiful, so compellingly stunning and I love the way her hand is curled around the letter 'R' as though it is a weapon or a lifeline.

Kestrel, the daughter of the lead General has two decisions, to marry or join the military. Though she is not impressed by either. She is known to be somewhat heartless and above all those around her, though she is nothing but the opposite with great expectations looming above. However, when she purchases a slave called Arin mainly for his apparent talent of voice she is compelled to buy him, though such great purchases come with great consequences. As Kestrel battles with her expectations and her own desires, she is pulled into situations she never though she would ever encounter.

Kestrel is a strong and ruthless character in her own individual way, she is a protagonist who is highly independent and does not whinge or cry at anything. She is logical and intelligent, with multiple plans forming in her mind every second; she was a delightful protagonist to read about. Arin though was compellingly mysterious, his actions had motives though many are still unapparent even now.

The plot of this novel was continuous and fast pace, action and deadly games hid around every corner waiting silently to jump out at you. The direction of the novel was one of which I did not expect; it was ruthless and challenging, however Rutkoski pulled it off seamlessly! Rutkoski braved an era and their 'issues' brilliantly allowing the novel to instantly draw you in. And the conclusion… I did not expect it! Definitely unlike any novel I have read before.

A uniquely magical piece of work that highlights the strength of young love but how sometimes, even the strongest have to admit defeat.

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