Winner's Curse Trilogy
by Marie Rutkoski
This series it's been quite strange to value for me, but let's start with a focus on each book.
While I was reading the first book I kept on asking myself what the hype was all about. It had so many good reviews I started to doubt I was reading the same book as everybody else. I couldn't get it at all.
The story takes place after a long war between the Valorians and Herrani. The Valorians did win the war and brought the Herrani into slavery.
Several years later, our main character - Kestrel - find herself rooming around a slave auction, following her instinct, she buys Arin, an Herrani male. What did begin as a master- slave relationship gradually grows into love. But Arin has secrets on his own and when they start to unravel she will have to choose where to stand.
I did find this first book of the series slow and with so little action, it's all about gossip, politics and balls with pretty dresses. The book it's filled with Jane Austen's romantic drama, what is missing in this book is a good dose of badassery. It's really heavy in the romance but as we enter the second book things start slowly to change.
In The Winner's Crime, the story starts to pick up. If for the first book the best word to decribe it was romance in this is politics.
at the end of the first book we left Kestrel engaged to Valoria's crown prince in exchange for a peace-treaty with the Herrani's land. Kestrel did put herself into a golden prison and there she will have to choose who she wants to protect and trust, she will enter a game of politics and spies.
This second book is more engaging than the first one. First of all the relationship between Kestrel and Arin slips in the background, behind the treason, revenge and betrayal.
I still did feel like the action was lacking, there wasn't a change of setting, we know what is happening in the battlefield but we are never brought there. I would have love a bit of actual fight.
The characters get more complex, our heroine feels more real with her egoistic choice and foolish hopes.
In the final book of the series - The Winner's Kiss- the actions finally comes alive.
Even though Arin tried in anyways to avoid the war, something things are inevitable. War has begun.
Arin is struggling with his feeling for Kestrel, he feels betrayed, while Kestrel is paying for treason in a prison camp.
Whatever was lacking in the other two books, was put into this one. It was an addictive read, making you read "just one more chapter" to know what was gonna happen.
All the characters and the world is rounded. I loved to watch the struggle in the relationship between Kestrel and her father, it was well done and felt real.
The last book did save the series for me, I'm happy I pushed through it, still wasn't completely my genre I thought I would have found more fantasy in it.
If it wasn't for the two first books the rating will be much higher but picking up this trilogy as a whole I can only give it 3/5 Stars.