By: Marie Rutkoski
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In a rivetingly imaginative fantasy world, Kestrel is a wealthy general’s daughter whose father is pressuring her to either get married or join his military soon. However, Kestrel doesn’t want to do either, and one day at the market she buys a slave on instinct, who acts mysterious and seems to be harboring secrets.
Soon Kestrel is astonished to find herself falling for her new work servant, Arin. And while oblivious to the schemes going on behind her back, she will have to hide her feelings for him, lest everything orderly in her life fall apart.
This young adult novel is the first in a series, and while it does contain some kissing, profanity, violence, descriptions of dead bodies, and a few mentions of a man sleeping with another man’s wife, it is all handled well and in a fairly light manner.
Readers should be prepared for a medium-paced book full of conspiracies and tension, and with enough suspense to keep you reading. The Winner’s Curse is heavier on the romance than the fantasy elements, but both are well-written, and the abrupt ending will make you eager to read the sequel.
Those who enjoyed The Winner’s Curse may also like Leigh Bardugo’s similar Grisha Trilogy, Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick, and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.
Bridge of Snow is a prequel short story for this book that you can read for free on Tor.com.