This week’s book review is about a story that over the years has gained an almost cult following in the YA world.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a young adult fantasy book set in a deadly empire of secrets and lies. The tale follows Kestrel, the genius and beautiful daughter of the General. She has lived a lavish life of ballrooms and mansions and has never known what it is to be in need. In her world slavery is not an uncommon practice and nearly all of the Empire’s elite have personal slaves who wait at their hand and foot. On one seemingly normal day when Kestrel is perusing the market she finds a young slave up for auction and in a rapid turning of events becomes the new owner of Arin, a nineteen year old who changes her life and the lives of her empire forever.
I never want to be the negative one about anything but really I can’t lie and say that this book lived up to my expectations. I’m not sure what sort of standards I had going into the Winner’s Curse. I knew it was well held on Goodreads and it was about wealthy and beautiful people but past that, not much else. To me though, all throughout, it felt lacking in a quality that I can’t wholly put my finger on.
The story itself was interesting enough but the rebellion narrative has grown tired over the years of dystopian futures and high fantasy uprisings that have plagued YA for too long. There was a weird feeling that although all of the details I was learning about were new like the world, the customs, the people; sadly none of the actual storyline felt new.
The writing quality was good enough and it would be very difficult to argue that Rutkoski doesn’t have an extremely impressive grasp on words. Moreover the characters and settings were interesting and the topic of slavery and freedom was certainly explored very well. I don’t want it to seem as though I am overlooking all of these brilliant details because really these are all the ingredients to what should’ve been a great book and I do believe the Winner’s Curse could’ve been a great book and not just an OK one if it’s narrative was stronger and more unexpected.
I would recommend this book to you if you are looking for something that is similar to what you have read before in terms of rebellion, romance and deceit. Otherwise, there are so many more intriguing books out there waiting to be read!
I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.