Thursday, March 12, 2015
Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Age group: YA
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
After seeing your beautiful cover, I wanted to like you so badly. I wanted to read you, love you and buy you to my own collection. My expectations for you were extremely high. And the way other people, readers that opinions matter to me, talked about you, I was sure that we would connect. But alas, rather than writing a love letter for you, I have to write something else.
Don't worry, this isn't a hate letter. I almost wish that I could write a hate letter, because that way I would feel at least something towards you. Because right now I don't feel anything. I feel like reading you did not do anything for me. Like someone could erase those two nights I spend with you and I wouldn't really even notice it (expect then I would not have a memory from those awesome Twizzlers I ate while spending time with you).
I was so excited to meet Kestrel, even if her name sounds kind of weird. I was also really looking forward to meeting Arin, mostly because his name reminds me of someone I know. I had heard such praise about your world building that I was sure I would be able to delve right in. But no! Rather than finding myself immersed with your world building, I was bored. I feel like nothing happened. Yes, Kestrel buys a slave. But after that there's a lot of stuff that did not feel move the story forward at all. Or at least that is how I feel.
The more and more I read you, I started to find it harder and harder to like Kestrel. I constantly felt like she has no idea what she is doing or what she wants from life. And I do get that we all struggle with questions like that sometimes and that I in no way can put myself in the shoes of Kestler, but hey, I needed something to grasp into and unfortunately I did not find it from you. Yes, she cares for her family, but outside of that, it feels like it is all the same what happens to people. Someone else, someone who really liked this book, might interpret this differently, but I just want to say how I felt. I constantly also felt that though she tries to seem like she does not care about her superior status, she acts differently. And that kind of behaviour always annoys me to no end. Given, she proves herself towards the end, but by then, it feels like too little too late.
This love story of Kestrel and Arin? When did it really happen? Did I miss something? Yes, Kestrel is constantly feeling like she shouldn't feel anything towards Arin, but she can't help it. I do get that this whole forbidden love thing is usually a fundamental part of books similar to you, but after a while it just gets annoying, especially since you know that in the end it is going to happen anyway. I wasn't looking for any grand romantic moments or clichés, but I didn't want to feel like I missed the whole falling-in-love process either.
When it comes to Arin, I felt even less that towards Kestrel. Like seriously, I felt nothing. And I must admit at points I was kind of terrified of him. Yes, he's protective, but seriously.... sometimes you can go too far. Once again, this is a point I feel a lot of people are going to disagree with me.
I think one of the reasons why I felt so disconnected from you is the fact that I am not a regular fantasy reader. Maybe as someone who extensively reads fantasy, I could have appreciated your very slow-building plot a bit more. One aspect that I did find interesting was the politics of your world, the division of the people into different groups and so on, but unfortunately that wasn't enough. I also had some problems with the way you were written. The style your author uses is very fast-paced and unfortunately I did not work for me when it felt like nothing really happened in your most part.
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I started with you thinking that I am going to meet my new favourite book. Maybe at the point when I noticed that I am not connecting with you, I gave up and started to look for flaws. I still don't quite know what happened, and since I did not feel any sort of connection with you, I probably won't even think about it too much.
You and I were not meant to be, but hey, don't despair. It seems like you are getting plenty of love elsewhere.