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.
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I never judge a book by its cover, but I won't lie -- the cover is what draws my initial attention nine times out of ten. This cover is definitely what drew me in with this novel. She's holding the R! Fantasy is way out of my comfort zone; although I do read it and enjoy it from time to time, I tend to prefer a more realistic setting. This book, while set in an unknown land and is therefore considered a fantasy, reads more like a historical romance novel. There are no hobbits, elves, or dragons, or any other kind of magic. At least not in the first novel.
The first half of the novel was decent, but the last half was amazing. I plowed through this book, desperate and at the same time hesitant to reach the end. The heroine was okay -- she was a bit spineless at times, and other times, I wished she was a baby so I could shake her, but I don't have to love a heroine. In fact, I almost never do. I'm certainly not perfect, and I'll admit that I do have the habit of putting myself in the protagonist's shoes if the story is particularly good. I did love the hero, Arin. I didn't just like him, no; I loved him.
The romance is slow and well-developed; the author does a great job making it as believable as possible considering the circumstances. She shows us how they fall in love, not just tells us that they did after the fact.
I finished this last night, and all day today I've longed for Arin.
Beautifully written and very well plotted (the political aspects are very well done), with masterful world building that will appeal to both historical fiction and fantasy fans alike, The Winner's Curse is a must read of 2014.
I'd like to stay for the record that I did not receive an ARC of this book; I purchased it with my own cold, hard cash after reading the first five chapters for free. Download the first five chapters for your Kindle device here!
Recommendation: If you liked this novel, you may also like The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley. Check it out @Goodreads.
Published March 4, 2014