I am the general's daughter.
And I've been raised for two things:
To enlist, or to marry.
During an auction, I saw a slave.
I purchased him.
I don't know why.
This slave isn't who I thought he would be.
Nor did I know that he would change my life.
My name is Krestel.
Book: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner Trilogy
Standing: Book 1
POV: 3rd person, past tense
Source: Physical copy
Release: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Favourite Quote: "Because if you don't like the way in which I have come, you may ride to my house the next time you invite me, then escort me back to your estate, then see me safely home again, and go back the way you came"
Rating: 4 Stars
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
A very original read!
The war between the Herrani and the Valorians has resulted with the Valorians as the winners, with Herrani people enslaved. Krestel, who is the general's daughter, is raised to either become part of the military or to be married off, out of the way. Trying to ignore this choice, she becomes intrigued by a slave up for auction, and buys him. But the slave, Arin, has a very big secret, and everything Krestel knows begins to change.
This book deals with racial enslavement, revenge, love, and betrayals. And were there betrayals. Love and betrayal is what pulled at my heartstrings, made my heart heavy with the dread of a betrayal that I knew was coming. I was scared for Krestel and Arin, not sure to what extent the betrayal would cost their love for each other.
Krestel was a very insightful character. She is extremely smart, and knows how to observe people and read them. She reminded me a little of Sherlock Holmes, able to deduce things merely from observation. However, she is not above blackmail, and is able to wield her observations like a knife in dire situations.
What I really connected to in this book was the need for music. Krestel spends her time at the piano, which is her solace, even though it is frowned upon. Arin too is musical, being able to sing, recognize flute music, as well as being once able to play the violin. Coming from a relatively musical background, little things like songs actually do have a significant impact on dire situations, and are great for comfort.
I liked how the book began and ended with mention of "The Winner's Curse." As defined in the beginning, it is: "The Winner's Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price." Translation: in order to win, sacrifices must be made. After all, in the end, there can only be just one winner.
SPOILERS START HERE.
I must say, Cheat's schemes were brilliant. Sell off Arin as a slave, when they actually are in a conspiracy together, and Arin is actually a spy. But I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Arin's new masters had been extremely cruel, and didn't let him get to the city again, and thus couldn't communicate with Cheat. The plot would have been differently for sure!
I really liked how the book had the rebellion happen in the middle of the book. It gives readers equal time to see the differences in how Arin acts as a slave, and how Krestal acts as a prisoner. We can compare and contrast their actions and their motivation, as well as their schemes to get away.
THAT ENDING. I can literally feel all the angst rolling off everyone. Arin, who thinks Krestel hates him enough to betray him. Krestel, who does not want to marry the Emperor's son, but has to in order to save Arin. Arin, who doesn't know this. THIS DOESN'T SIT RIGHT WITH ME. I'm very afraid for these two. Very. Afraid.
And from what I've heard about The Winner's Crime, things only get worse for them, and I don't know how much more heartbreak I can take... *gulps*