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The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 369 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 12 - 18|
|Grade Level: 7 and up|
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*possible spoilers follow! but nothing specific and nothing you will not learn at almost the beginning of the book:
What I loved most about the book was the believability of the main characters (speaking specifically of Kestrel and Arin), in the sense that there is no clear sense of right and wrong in their actions and thoughts, which are sometimes selfish and sometimes selfless. Their weaknesses are at once evident and complex, as are their strengths. The author does a capable job, through alternating points-of-view, of conveying the divided and shifting loyalties of the two protagonists. It's true that there are some archetypal characters, but for the most part, I didn't find them a distraction. Unlike some reviewers, I did not think Kestrel was dumb. Naive, sure--but she's a seventeen-year old girl! She shows her aptitude for strategy on several occasions. Arin did indeed manipulate her, but she had spent most of her life under the misguided assumption that the Valorians, led by her father, held the territory firmly in hand. This made it believable that she would lower her guard around Arin--especially as his feelings toward her were not an act, but genuine.
Now, having written all that, I am going to be very disappointed if this trilogy ends with a "lovers together against all odds" scenario. But for now, I am looking forward to the second installment!
So to elaborate a little more on the story... Kestrel, the main character of the Winner's Curse, is the daughter of the general who helped lead the Valorian army in conquering over the Herrani and their land. Her family, thus is a pretty big thing and powerful. One day while in town with Kestrel's friend Jess, they pass a slave auction, where Kestrel bids on a Herrani slave named Arin, who can allegedly sing very well and Kestrel who herself loves music, which is rare among the Valorian, takes a chance on the slave, who also has some blacksmithing skills which could be helpful to her father. Unfortunately, Kestrel may have spent too much to purchase Arin, making Kestrel a victim of the Winner's Curse. The Winner's Curse is essentially where you win an auction by bidding more than anyone else would value the object. It is interesting that author Marie Rutkoski was able to write an amazing book based on that one concept. Anyways continuing on...Kestrel loves music and is an amazing strategist but, her father keeps pushing for her to become a soldier or to marry. At the same time, Arin is a pain in Kestrel's side. He is her responsibility, the intriguing puzzle that she knows she should stay away from but, can't help but find more.
Kestrel is an amazing character. She has an amazing tactical mind, especially for a teenage girl. Kestrel also may have been brought up in a big house with dresses and servants and be an amazing pianist, so she has her girly side, but she also has been trained on how to fight (partially due to her father), but still adds to her strength, and her self-sacrificing personality. She doesn't just have the strength for combat, but she also has an inner strength. Kestrel is able to control her feelings of her heart. She is the kind of character you want to continue reading about.
The romance, to me, was the center point of this story, with the revolution occurring all around them. First it starts off slow, Kestrel and Arin take a long time to realize that they are meant for each other. In the beginning they seem to have this love/hate relationship. They would sort of push/pull at each other and would make each other question things. Then they do fall and it is against all the rules of society, a slave and a master, Herrani and Valorian, they aren't supposed to be together. Then the revolution happens and there is loss and sadness and sacrifice. In the case of Revolution, I was torn. Slavery is horrible, so yes I was rooting for the Herrani to gain their freedom, but at the same time, I liked Ronan, Jess, Kestrel's father and of course Kestrel, who are all on the other side of the Slavery scene, the enriched side. However, the tactics of the revolution were planned pretty nicely.
This book was a welcome, not one of my usual reads, but it absorbed me none the less. I never found it dull, or slow. I believe this book will be one of the favorites for 2014 and I cannot wait for the sequel, the Winner's Crime.
All that said, I really appreciated reading about a strong female protagonist who wasn't naturally gifted physically, but was instead a brilliant strategist. It was neat to see how Kestral read her enemies and puzzled through different situations.
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They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and...Read more
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