I feel like I have been reading a lot of disappointing books the last few weeks. It’s kinda killed the fun of reading and posting about great books that I have enjoyed. The Winner’s Curse has been on the mountain of books to read and a friend highly recommended it. I really enjoyed Rutkowski’s Cabinet of Wonders series and figured The Winner’s Curse would be a good way to end the year.
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. One day, she randomly buys a young slave up for auction with unexpected consequences. But the slave, Arin, 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.
The writing in this is good but it’s not the kind that sweeps the reader up and transports them fully within the pages, but it gets the job done. Throughout the first half of the book, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the slow revelations of the character’s depths. The plot is there too; star crossed lovers, a power-hungry empire, and a slave rebellion. What’s not to like? The story never grabbed me. Never really took hold. I definitely bothered me that it did not bother Kestrel just how many slaves she had. Sure she was good to the ones she liked but the others became faceless, nameless. The second half of the book, during the slave rebellion, the story did start to take hold of me but I feel as if this could have been done ‘better’. This read less like a YA novel and more like a ‘mature’ middle school book. The politics, and war strategies and larger scale conflicts are sugared down. That being said, the end. Oh the end. Darn you amazingly wonderful, jaw dropping, must find out what happens next. Hopefully book two will be better and I won’t regret giving it a shot.