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!)