Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 4, 2014)
Rating: 3 stars
Cover Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.
Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
This beautiful book has been on my shelf since last year and I finally read it in two days’ time. Beyond the gorgeous cover The Winner’s Curse is not all that great. In fact it was mostly boring. I kept reading hoping that things would get better. That there would be some action, instead it was nothing but social gatherings and childish bantering between the Kestrel and her love “interest”. I say this loosely because it’s obvious she feels nothing for Ronan. Personally think he’s there just to be there to make this love triangle thing happen within the book. On top of that, I don’t see the attraction between Arin and Kestrel. She is vapid and condescending at times and he has the personality of a sack of potatoes.
Basically, The Winner’s Curse is nothing more than a watered down version of Spartacus. Slave is brought. Slave infiltrates fort. Slave starts a revolution to get his home back. That’s pretty much all there is to The Winner’s Curse besides the beautiful cover.
Now it in defense I will say that I’m a little more experienced with the Fantasy genre so it’s to be expected that I will find flaws in this book. Secondly, this is YA fantasy and I should be accustom to the watered down bland version that seems to pass for YA fantasy. Can’t have things too bloody or action-y. This is not the Games of Thrones. Although I wish it was instead of being focused so much of the romantic side. Yes that is the problem with The Winner’s Curse. It’s too focused on the romance instead of the world-building and character development.
Something that I expect when reading fantasy.
And before you call me heartless—I’m not. The Notebook is one of my favorite movies. I just hate when romance and googly-eyes take over in a book. Seriously, when you’re trying to win back your country/kingdom you’re not thinking about love. You may exhibit feelings for one another but that is not what is important. No it’s the blood, gore, action and adventure. Along with deception, betrayal, back-stabbing and politics. Also world-building. I can’t stress that enough. This book is seriously lacking in that department. Big time.
Now, even though I pointed out all the problems that this book had, I heard the second one is better and I sure hope that it is because that pretty book is sitting on my shelf.
So if you’re the type that likes the romantic aspect to fantasy and loves a beautiful cover to compliment your bookshelf. I highly recommend The Winner’s Curse. If you’re like me—familiar with the genre than I suggest you borrow it from the library and don’t expect much. It’s all talk and no real action.
P.S. before I forget. This one thing that was bothering me the whole time that I was reading The Winner’s Curse. Arin. How in the hell no one and I do mean no one noticed that he was more than he seem. He was elegant, graceful and carried himself like a prince. Like he owned the place. Okay in a way he did but you need to read the book to see what I mean. Still, there were hints left and right that something was up with homeboy.
I guess us readers weren’t supposed to see that twist coming.
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