They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.Set in a new world,The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
I think lately we have forgotten that a strong female character doesn't just mean that she can physically kick a lot of ass. We have a tendency to paste a label of 'damsel' on any woman who can't fight and kill men 3X their size. We forget that intellect, being true to yourself, knowing your limitations and making difficult choices in difficult situations is also incredibly strong.I loved Kestrel for all these reasons. In a world where you must enlist or you wed, Kestrel is a general’s daughter who lacks skill in combat. She prefers music and intellectual games, music which is deemed for slaves not for any high born. She is a master in planning and can easily plan how to win a battle but the battle itself is just not for her. I cannot stress how much I love this. I love diverse characters but especially diverse women. Men have owned stories for a lifetime and it is now that women get to really shine. Kestrel was beautifully written with a realism to her that made me connect. She was never written in a light of perfection, she knows her flaws but she also knows her own strengths. I think most of my love for this book comes from Kestrel's character (not saying the rest wasn't any good but she shined and I wanted more and more and more of her). Arin was a Herrani slave bought by Kestrel in a moment of weakness to his defiant eyes. He has a mysterious background that I hope we learn more of in the forthcoming books, we got a bit but I want it all. I have back and forth feelings for Arin, on the one hand I completely understand his actions and his hatred is completely valid but on the other hand, he endangers Kestrel and dude, not cool. Overall, I really adored 'The Winner's Curse'. I was really nervous going into it because it's gotten SUCH rave reviews but to me it really lived up to them. The writing and story were unique and so beautiful and I can't wait to see how the story ends!