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ARC Review THE WINNER'S CURSE by MARIE RUTKOSKI @marierutkoski @FierceReads

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.

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About the Author
Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Shadow Society and the Kronos Chronicles, which includes The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in New York City. Kristin Cashore, the author of Graceling, says about her new book The Winner's Curse, “Every line in The Winner’s Curse is beautifully written. The story is masterfully plotted. The characters’ dilemmas fascinated me and tore at my heart. This book gave me a rare and special reading experience: I never knew what was going to happen next. I loved it. I want more.” 


First off, this is one of those books that will make you sad when it ends. If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo, Kristin Cashore, or  Sarah J. Maas, start the countdown for the release of this one.  This is one of those sweeping epics that you will devour in one night and then go "WAH" because you will absolutely die when you realize you have to wait a year for a follow up.  Of course, the world building will completely devour you, and reminded me a bit of Game of Thrones with evil and goodness, black and white with all shades of gray imaginable.  The minor characters are some of the most fascinating I have read about in a long time.  I wish this book was a bit longer to find out more about some of them.  

Kestrel is the daughter of the great general Trajan who lead his country to great military success and although she is expected to either marry or enter service herself when she turns eighteen next year, she is not excited about either choice.  Her intelligence has eliminated most of the eligible men and she lacks the skill to join the military.  Her best friend, Jess, drags her through the market and there she makes a life changing purchase.  A slave named Arin, who once was part of a ruling class, but now barely surviving.  When their worlds collide, life will never be the same for either of them.

If you haven't guessed already, this is a romance but not an obvious one.  There is conflict between Kestrel and Arin, and each character is so deeply conflicted within themselves, you will wonder if the can ever find themselves or each other.  It has a real Romeo and Juliet flavor but throw in a bit of Julius Caesar for good measure.  This is such a well written fantasy that I swooned over the words.  More, please.  


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