Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Publication Date: April 10th 2014
Source: Netgalley [Bloomsbury]
The Winnner's Curse is one of those books that I heard everyone going on about and I knew I had to pick it up asap. So not long after I got approved for a copy on Netgalley, I started reading it. I completely understood why everyone was raving about it. I was pulled into Kestrel's world straight away and I adored this book.
The Winner's Curse follows Kestrel - the general's daughter & Arin - a slave. Kestrel's father has been trying to get her to join the military for years to help him, so he finally gives her an ultimatum: Join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other ideas. She finds a kindred spirit in a slave at the auction, and Kestrel buys him. But Arin has a secret, one that he's determined to keep hidden.
As soon as I started The Winner's Curse I fell in love with the world that Rutkoski had created. I adored hearing about the war and finding out how Kestrel's family came to be in power. It was fascinating. However, there were parts of the book that I found slow and dragging, so they kind of took away some of my enjoyment. But overall, I adored the book.
Kestrel was a character I was extremely curious about. She seemed interested in her father's war tactics, but she refused to join him and I was curious to find out why. Kestrel has a passion for music - she adores playing the piano and takes every opportunity she can to play it even though her father frowns upon it because only slaves should play music. But Kestrel doesn't care, she loves it. I adored her determination to stand up for what she believes in and to stand up to her father. Even though he gave her an ultimatum, Kestrel is determined to prove herself and find a way out of it.
I was intrigued by Arin straight away. It was obvious he was hiding something and I wanted to know what. And then when Arin went off to his meeting with his "significant other", I finally found out what he was up to and I knew it wasn't going to end well. Arin is a sweet character and he is trying to fight for what he thinks is right. I loved finding out more about Arin and his past.
There was some romance in this book, but not a lot since most of it is focused on the war and character struggles so I was OK with the romance. Arin and Kestrel's feelings for each other gradually grow throughout the book and both of them try to hide their feelings. There are a lot of complications that stop them from being together - especially at the end of the book - but I loved seeing their feelings develop and seeing what happened between them.
The storyline was the main thing I loved about this book (even if I did find the pace slow to start with). It took me a while to figure out what was going on with Arin, but when I did, I realised that things were going to happen and everything was going to change. And it did. The whole feel of the book completely changed towards the end and that was my favourite part of the book. The ending was full of twists and turns that made my jaw drop and that ending was seriously amazing!
Overall, The Winner's Curse was such a fascinating read. It was beautifully written and had such a wonderful storyline that kept me hooked from the start and was full of fantastic twists at the end. I honestly can't wait for book #2 now because I'm pretty sure it's going to be even more amazing than the first one.