Speed date with Arin: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski

Posted 20 February, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 20 Comments

THE WINNER’S CURSE (The Winner’s Curse #1) by Marie Rutkoski
YA Fantasy
368 pages, hardcover
Available March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

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.

First Date: Ooh, Arin is so closed off and pissed at the world. Of course, this is completely understandable, considering he’s a slave who’s just been purchased by the spoiled daughter of the general who helped conquer his country. At least she was forced to pay too much for him, may The Winner’s Curse fall hard upon her head. And what does she do after she buys him and drags him home? Ignores him. Not actually a bad deal for him, considering, though he does eventually get placed in the blacksmith’s forge. Also not a bad deal, considering… *rubs hands together, cackles and refuses to give away more of the plot for fear of spoilage*

Second Date: Kestrel is growing on Arin, despite him holding on to his anger as hard as he can. She’s intelligent and not at all what Arin expected. She’s certainly nothing like her general father, though she does have a brilliant mind for military strategy. And she did love that nurse of hers. The connection between Kestrel and Arin is a slow burn, hatred (him) and indifference (her) evolving into caring and love, despite both of them trying to prevent it from happening. But some things are fated, inevitable. 

Third Date: You know, as much as I loved this book and this world, I think I’ll leave Arin for Kestrel. He can be kind of a jackass, though much of his behavior is completely understandable, given the circumstances. I’m also hoping that there isn’t a love triangle in the making though I really don’t think there will be one. Most everything Kestrel has done is for Arin so I don’t see her falling for anyone else’s charms. Arin, on the other hand, loves Kestrel but he also loves his people and freedom…so book two will be very interesting (Can we get a release date on that one, please? Do we have to wait a whole ‘nother year?!?).

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20 Responses to “Speed date with Arin: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski”

  1. I definitely enjoyed this one!! I liked that it was a completely slow building relationship. I think anything else would have been strange and almost disrespectful because of their positions in society. Very curious to see where things go from here!

  2. Oh I loved this book so so much! The romance was absolutely amazing with them both fighting it for so long. I get what you mean about Arin being cruel every once in a while… Love him, but don’t want him for myself either

  3. You hooked me in by the third date! I love a complicated romance filled with messy emotions and this seems to deliver perfectly. Plus, that whole inner conflict of love vs. freedom that Arin seems to struggle under is incredibly compelling. Wonderful post, Mary – I can’t wait for this to release!

  4. YAY! Glad you enjoyed this one Mary! I really liked the slow burn of the romance, it just worked perfectly for me. Though I do agree that Arin could be a jackass at times. As you said, his behavior was totally understandable of course, but I still winced on occasion. I just can’t wait to see how things progress between them and how the politics play out. *joins you in staring at the calendar wishing time would move faster so we can have book two asap*

  5. I like the sound of Kestrel and Arin’s slow burn romance. Those are my favorites when you see the changes (slowly) in the characters feelings. And Arin’s hatred and Kestrel’s indifference in the beginning makes for an interesting romance. I’m excited to learn more about the mystery, politics and setting in this one.

  6. The only bad thing about this book is how long I have to wait for the next one.

    I pray…pray…pray there won’t be a love triangle but….I kind of feel like there are a couple possible ones. *crosses fingers*

  7. I like the idea of the slow buidling romance even it it drove you crazy, there had better not be a love triangle in the works. I am hearing such great things about this one and I am sorry I passed on it!

  8. AHH oh my gosh I know, I need a release date asap! That ending was so emotionally jarring for me. I really hope there’s not going to be a LT in the sequel, because we already kind of dodged that bullet in this book, and I really don’t want another one flying our way (though the possibility is definitely there). I agree Arin could be a jackass, but it was hard for me to stay mad at him, and I liked that he evolved into less of one by the end of the book. Fabulous speed date Mary!

  9. SO glad to hear you enjoyed TWC! I loved it, and I agree that Arin was a pain at certain times. But I couldn’t stay angry for long, and I loved them both together. Great speed date, Mary!

  10. I totally added this to my books to purchase, I may try audio on this. I love the sound of the world and the characters. You know it’s good when you are looking for the next release!

  11. I need to read this and soon. I cannot believe I been putting it off cause I been scared of it. But once I get my planned reading out of the way I expect to start it this weekend!

  12. I liked Aren, I just didn’t feel like I knew him well enough. I hope that there’s not a love triangle! It really is a great world, I liked that part a lot.

  13. Everyone seems to love this book, but I’m going to wait until the next one to see if I pick this up. It does sound amazing, though. Excellent speed date, Mary! 🙂

  14. Hee hee, the ellipses leave so much to the imagination if you haven’t read the book! I think Arin is hiding a lot, so I’m really anxious to see what the future books will bring. I can’t remember which stop it was, but on one of the blog tour posts, Marie talks about writing the two characters, and how Kestrel may not know certain things (even about herself), but she would endeavor to be honest with you if you asked her. Whereas with Arin, he doesn’t want you to get any closer or to understand him. I thought that was such an interesting and well thought-out approach to her characters’ mindset, and it explains why they felt like such nuanced characters to me.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now. I could talk about this book all day long.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  15. SO worried about a LT in book 2! That is my biggest fear. But I’m thinking it will be more of circumstance than feelings. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping. I love that Arin’s sort of a jerk in this. But remember what he does at the end for Kestrel? I think he redeems himself well and cares for her a great deal. Such a fascinating series where two people are perfect for each other but are completely separated by why their parents and people are. I cannot wait for more! LOVE these speed dates.