Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Winner's Curse (Marie Rutkoski)

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
Title: The Winner's Curse
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, brief attack, sensuality)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, FSG!

In a Sentence: An interesting story and atypical romance but with a writing style I couldn't connect with.

When this book was first announced, I immediately added it to my wishlist. When the breathtaking cover was released, I couldn't get my hands on a copy fast enough. Everyone reading it early gave it nothing but praises, so when I finally acquired The Winner's Curse I went into it last April with very high expectations.

But to my surprise and disappointment, I did not love it - I didn't even really enjoy it. Every other person I knew adored it though, and as it was really just my type of read I figured it must've been my mood at the time. Since I never ended up finishing my review, I set my copy in the re-read pile with the plan to try it again soon, and when the author was scheduled to appear at my local indie I decided the time had finally come. This time, however, I went into it with very low expectations, on the lookout for redeeming qualities, and I'm glad to say that I found them in the more emotionally connected second half and the offbeat romance. But still, I had my problems.

While at its core the story was interesting, I just couldn't connect with the writing. In the first half, the choppy style and 3rd Person point of view put too much distance between myself and the characters' emotions, as well as the action - I felt disconnected and therefore disinterested in what happened to anyone. The second half was more engaging but also more unsatisfying with its painfully short scenes and disjointed pacing, although with time comes better understanding and I finally connected somewhat with the characters as the story progressed. The end was a disappointment though, condensing a lot of possibly interesting action that could've taken up chapters into a few short paragraphs, and I finished feeling rushed and unsatisfied.

The uncommon romance was interesting, though. Their hearts on opposite sides of a war, they struggled to hold back in the face of loyalty to their people. Love will out, of course, but not without guilt and grief and prices paid to save the other. It's a classic tale, but one I haven't come across in YA as of late, so it was a bit refreshing.

Conclusion: While the second read wasn't as disappointing as the first, I still had my problems with the writing and pacing. However, since I have an ARC of Book 2, The Winner's Crime, I will continue the series. Perhaps like the first book, all this series needs is a little time.

Scribble Rating
2.5 of 5 Scribbles

1 comment:

  1. Sad day! I've also been waiting to read this one. Sad to hear you didn't like it. Thanks for sharing!