Saturday, 13 June 2015

Book: The Winner's Curse by Maria Rutkowski

Title: The Winner's Curse
Series: The Winner's Trilogy (#1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 4th March 2014
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelwiess Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

As an infamous General's daughter, Kestrel knows that he expects her to sign up to the military. Knowing that she ahs to make her decision on whether to enlist or marry by 20 just makes it harder. While at the market one day, Kestrel pays above the odds for a slave that she feels akin to. Arin has a plan, but it didn't involve the beautiful girl who is now his mistress, nor did it involve the intrigue she poses...

I didn't know quite what I expected when I picked up The Winner's Curse but it certainly wasn't that. From what other reviewers have said I was expecting a solid fantasy read, with good characters and a sturdy plot; what I got was so much more.

I love complex characters, and The Winner's Curse definitely supplied those in the form of Kestrel and Arin. Though the two of them did seem attracted to each other, both physically and more emotionally, that was the only simple bit of their relationship. They weren't able to fully accept each other because of their different heritages and the 'sides' that they were on, though this did lead to some interesting decisions that were made for the good of the other person. It made their relationship have a sligtly sweet edge to political manoeuvering.

Politics! I love a good sense of politics in a book. I thought that The Winner's Curse was actually more overt with its use of politics than many books, and most of it was done in terms of military strategy. This went all the way from big decisions to each character squaring off against others in the day to day life of society.

The concept of seeing a revolution from both sides was super intrigueing for me. I found myself captivated by the way that Arin's people overtook Kestrel's, and yet it was nowhere near as clear cut as that. There was a hesitancy on both sides about what to do next, which added a complexity and made the characters seem more real.

I really enjoyed The Winner's Curse, to the point that the formatting of the ARC didn't put me off (whereas it would have done if the book hadn't been as strong!)