The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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For some reason I thought this book was about a girl who was cursed to always win. I was very wrong.

Let’s talk positives. The writing is great. It’s rare that a fantasy book can seem well written with short concise sentences instead of literary prowess. I liked it. The pace of the story was slow and steady, but I didn’t get bored. I didn’t skim. I felt engrossed, and while it wasn’t until the second half that anything actually started to happen I didn’t want to miss a word. And that’s a good thing.

I usually don’t like books where I know a major twist that the main character doesn’t. It makes that character look stupid because he/she can’t see the foreshadowing that we’re so blatantly given. However, this book did it fairly well. And I liked that said twist didn’t drag out too long. I was excited to see what would happen and it delivered. High five!

Another huge plus is not knowing who to cheer for. There are two sides and one could argue for (and against) both. And that’s besides the actual bad guys.

And now for the meh. Dun dun dun.

The story felt like a weird mashup of different periods, cultures, and places. The portrayal of women is very disproportionate, like look at how strong the women are but none of it matters because they have no say in anything anyway.

I also felt like the music was out of place. The piano playing and singing was painted perfectly, but it didn’t belong in that setting. It took me out of the fantasy. I’m sure others would disagree.

I also didn’t like the cover. Whoever thought of putting the name sideways? And her facial expression is weird. Personal opinion though.

Reasons why you might not like this: (1) Slavery and the flippant acceptance of it on both sides. (2) Forbidden romance is forbidden. (3) I’m a pretty princess problems.

Overall, I liked this, and I will probably pick up the next one to find out how it resolves. This is saying a lot because I’ve read several series starter books in the past few months and this is the first to hook me. If you’re looking for a romantic fantasy style book, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

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