The two main characters are Arin and Kestrel. Kestrel is the general's daughter. She's a fascinating protagonist. The book is mainly told from her point of view, with a few bits from Arin's, so you really get to know Kestrel, her character and how she thinks. Kestrel is quite smart, she's a strategist and a musician. She's used to getting what she wants but not in a spoiled manner. There were only a few times that I felt mildly annoyed by her. That's my way of saying Kestrel is a good protagonist. Believe me, books are a lot harder to enjoy if the protagonist is constantly annoying you.
Then there's Arin. He's a slave from a conquered country. He has a very interesting character. Driven by love for his country and later for his feelings. There's a lot more to him then I originally thought.
The plot was riveting. I was constantly wondering what would happen next. I had a few ideas, but a lot of this book surprised me. The ending was not what I was expecting. Actually, I didn't know what to expect from this book. I'd heard no spoilers or anything about it, so when the story started changing directions I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, no part of the story was flabbergasting but it did have some neat surprises in there.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes books with action, wit, suspense and romance. Shockingly enough, the whole story isn't just a romance between Arin and Kestrel. That's one of the things I was expecting but no. The romance is slow building, which I liked. It's a lot easier to get attached to a slow building romance over one where the characters hate each other and then a paragraph later are expressing how much they love the other. Those stories annoy me. I'd rate The Winner's Curse 7.5/10 stars, which is a pretty high rating for me. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one.
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.