The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Kestrel is the generals daughter and has been given two options: marry or join the military. When she buys a slave on a whim her world is kaleidoscope as she starts to fall for the man, Arin, that she bought. The complications of their affection complicates both of their lives as they discover they will have to sacrifice more than just their pride, conviction and status.
read this 2 years ago but for some reason never got around to finishing the series. As a reread, I ended up thinking this book deserves 5 stars instead of just the 4 I initially gave it. The story may start off slow, but I think it’s important to set the world and temperament of Kestrel’s life. The main focus of the book is spent on the slow burn of Kestrel and Arin’s romance as they are basically in denial of the attraction the feel for each other due to their circumstance of slave & owner. However, there is courtly-esque façade, politicking, and even a dueling to keep the middle of the story from lagging.
The World Building
I love how there is this 19th century feel to this, with an empire conquering a new land and spreading out, all the while the nobles take over and prance around in their finery with slaves doing all the work. I love how the conquered people’s culture was seeping into the culture, but was twisted to serve the means of those that took over. My favorite part though, was though the world would assume to be male dominated (Kestrel needing an escort to walk around town), the women could join the military. It wasn’t frowned upon in the least bit for Kestrel to be knowledgeable in politics and military.
It’s hard not to love the characters in this book. Both Kestrel and Arin have their own upbringing that clashes with each other. I just adore how they still try to maintain their status while sacrificing their pride to help one another.
Cat Power – The Greatest