Lady Kestrel is a Valorian. Her people are warlike and have conquered almost the whole known world, including Herran. She lives in a life of luxury and privilege as the general's daughter in Herran, with slaves to serve her every need. She has to choose (like all Valorian girls) whether to marry or join the army by her 17th birthday; but that isn't an easy choice for Kestrel, a cunning strategist and devoted musician. When she visits the market with her best friend, Kestrel finds herself at the slave market, and not much later, with a supposedly musical slave in her ownership. As the weeks go on, Arin, the new slave, and Kestrel begin to form a tentative friendship, but when violence erupts in Herran, they find their relationship stretched and ripped to the limits. Will they be able to find a way to mend their differences, or will they find themselves on opposite sides of an unbreachable divide?
I LOVED The Winner's Curse. I first thought it would be only a romance, but it's not only that. The Winner's Curse is a carefully crafted novel, combining intrigue with well-developed action and complex characters. The novel's world is really great too, and though it draws heavily on Roman history and culture, it distinctly has its own different, classic feel. The characters' interactions and personalities are also extremely real and believable, and they are by no means perfect people. Though the first 50 pages or so were a bit slow, the action picked up extremely quickly, and I could barely set the book down. This novel was AMAZING -- so awesome that I'm dying for the sequel, even though this one just came out yesterday. The Winner's Curse is a marvelous novel, and I know that if you give it a chance you'll love it!
(Make sure to check out our interview with Marie Rutkoski!)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Hello fellow bloggers! My name is Nicole Swift and I am currently a graduate student at Nazareth College of Rochester; I am studying to become a Literacy Specialist for students aged birth through grade six. To me, there is nothing more thrilling than reading a book that both captures your attention and forces you to question what you think you know about a topic. Thankfully, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why achieved both of these ends!
While reading several plot summaries for the books by our TBF authors, I was immediately drawn to Jay Asher’s texts. In particular, Thirteen Reasons Why grabbed my attention. You might be asking “Why would a person be compelled to read a story about the suicide of a young girl? Isn’t that a bit depressing?” Have no fear; I too asked myself those same questions. However, and here is where I defend my rationale, I was hooked with one word in the title: Why. How often do we, as readers, get an insider’s perspective on why a deceased character made his or her decisions? More often than not, we are given the perspectives of those who were affected by the passing of an individual, but we are often left guessing at the motives of the deceased character. To put it simply, my own curiosity drove me to this book and I am thankful that it did.
On the surface, this book serves as a sort of eulogy for Hannah Baker’s character. In detail, Hannah reveals the events of her life that influenced her decision to commit suicide. Hannah explains how such events, on their own, might not have pushed her to the point of no return, but when considered together, these events came to define her identity. On a deeper level, this book speaks to the effects of our actions both seen and unseen. Several of the recipients of Hannah’s tapes were under the impression that their actions were “no big deal” and Hannah was simply overreacting. However, once aware of the inner struggle Hannah faced on a daily basis, these same characters were forced to reevaluate how their actions served as contributing factors. This book is not only an account of one specific suicide, but draws attention to feelings that are often consistent across suicides. Many people, similar to Hannah, experience bullying or feel a lack of compassion which forces them to question the value of their own lives. Jay Asher draws attention to an important subject and forces the reader to wonder whether or not we can truly ever know someone’s most honest inner thoughts. This book stirs up feelings of sympathy, pain and hope while leaving the reader to question: How can my actions make a positive difference?