Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
Book 1 in The Winner's Trilogy
355 Pages
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 7th Grade
Pubkisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

The daughter of one of the most powerful generals in a vast empire buys a slave. That is a normal practice in her country, but the friendship that she forms with said slave is one that is unprecedented. As rumors start to spread, her life is changed forever, but does it change for better or for worse?

The Short:
Going into this book, I was hoping for an angst-ridden book with a very cliche romance. That is not what I got. This has a marginally angsty protagonist and romance, but not to the extent that I was expecting. Also, this book was filled tot he brim with action, which I very much appreciated and was surprised by.

The Good:

  • I usually don't like it when books have angsty romances, but when I was choosing what book to read next, I decided that angst was exactly what I wanted. Having said that, I think I liked the book better because it wasn't angsty. 
  • I have to commend the author for being able to take a very cliche and overused topic, and making it original, and well done. The story is a very rich person falling for a very poor person (in this case a slave), while it could have been done very poorly, Marie Rutkoski did a very good job changing it into something original. 
  • The setting, and descriptions really reminded me of the Ancient Roman Empire. The Latin word for house is "villa," and instead of saying mansion or home, the houses were called "villas." Also, it was very Roman of the author to incorporate slaves and a polytheistic religion. Personally, I am very interested in Ancient Rome, so I was fascinated when I could pull a parallel from this book and Ancient Rome.
  • The action was very well done. I love action in books, movies, and TV shows, so I really enjoyed that aspect. Also, I was not anticipating there being any action, so it was a very happy surprise.
The Bad:
  • The characterization was not the greatest. I never really felt for any of the characters, so when something bad happened I just didn't really care.
  • Because there was little characterization, I never really understood the decisions of the characters. I can usually guess to a certain extent what the character is going to do next, but I really just had no idea. I guess it somewhat kept me on my toes, but I want to be able to understand the thought process of the characters. 
The Rating:

The Closing Thoughts:
I had a lot of fun with this book. I will most certainly pick up the second book when it comes out, so I will eagerly await it. 


The Content:
The Language: Very mild.
The Sex: Small amounts of kissing. One rape scene, not at all graphic. Infidelity. 
The Violence: Lots of violence. The society is built on death. Some mass murder. 
The Drugs: Casually drinking wine.

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