Living a life that is tightly controlled and more than a little lonely, Kestrel becomes friends with Arin, a slave she purchases on a whim. The two gradually develop a friendship, but how genuine can a friendship be when Arin is only enslaved because of the actions of Kestrel’s father and her people?
The first book in a new YA trilogy, The Winner’s Curse drew me in from the first pages and left me eager to see how the story develops. The forbidden friendship between Kestrel and Arin, which develops into a forbidden and impossible romance, provides a character-driven element to a plot which is essentially focused on the military takeover of a land and the subsequent uprising of the original population.
The details of the military history, political manoeuvring, and social customs were interesting, building tension for the reader as they highlighted the impossibility of the relationship between Kestrel and Arin and revealing the source of Kestrel’s own inner turmoil. The novel has a historic, rather than futuristic feel, reading like a slightly more modern version of an Ancient Roman invasion and occupation. It doesn’t have the grim suppression of one class by another generally evident in dystopian fiction, but should appeal to fans of that genre.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this story develops and hope that the romantic tension between Kestrel and Arin will remain as the thread that ties together an interesting and detailed plot.
Title: The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $15.99 RRP
Publication Date: 17 March 2014
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult