Review

Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

16069030.jpg

4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

The Winner’s Curse is a tricky book to define – I honestly have no idea what genre to put it under. The setting doesn’t quite feel fantasy, but it also doesn’t quite feel science fiction. I suppose it could considered to be a dystopian novel, but in a very different way to other Young Adult dystopian such as The Hunger Games or Divergent. I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I picked it up – there are a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads – but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

The setting seemed a little odd. There was obvious Graeco-Roman inspiration, e.g. the empire, slaves, villas, names such as Trajan and soldiers with names ending in ‘x’, but there were plenty of names that didn’t fit. I suppose it doesn’t have to be inspired by one particular culture, if any at all, but it does make it feel more grounded and ‘real’, in a way. The world-building didn’t feel very strong. There was a vague sense of history – the Valorians enslaved the Herranis a while before the events of the book, but that was about it.

Kestrel, the protagonist, was a relief. She may have been from an aristocratic family, but she wasn’t amazing at everything, despite all the opportunities. She was clever, quick-witted and musical, but not a good fighter. She doesn’t mope about, there’s no talk of how she’s plain or any ‘special snowflake’ behaviour. And she has a genuine friendship with a female friend that doesn’t just revolve around the friend being a handy way for Kestrel to discuss her feelings – although it does seem that way at first, it is later shown that Jess is truly important to Kestrel. However, Arin felt quite flat. There was a little bit of his history, but I wasn’t able to get a real sense of his personality. It’s a possibility that he was meant to be mysterious and aloof, but it didn’t really come off that way.

I am writing this review a few weeks after reading the book, and I have to admit that if it weren’t for my notes, I’d have great difficulty writing this. Despite having read the book not that long ago, it took me a little while to recall all of the details. It may not be the most memorable of stories, but I do know that I really enjoyed it! And the best bit? No insta-love!

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: December 2016

monthlyru16

Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, including discussing books read that month, challenge progress, and a summary of all posts for the month.

Last month I read a total of fifteen books: Zeroes (Zeroes #1) by Scott Westerfeld, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen, Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1) by Zen Cho, The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu, Talon by Janet Lee Carey, Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England by Terry Deary, The Just City (Thessaly #1) by Jo Whalton, An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir, The Graces by Laure Eve, The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman, Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats #2) by Sebastien de Castell and The Demon King (The Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima.

December was definitely a great reading month! Most of what I read came from the library, stuff that I’d ordered in especially so I was excited for all of it. However, my standout books have to be The Demon King, Knight’s Shadow and The Just City. The Demon King felt like a classic fantasy novel, and just completely and utterly drew me in. Knight’s Shadow was a fantastic follow up to Traitor’s Blade, and The Just City was just so unique and really appealed to my archaeology and ancient history loving self.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I managed to recruit all heroes and defeat all villains for the DC vs Marvel Challenge in 2016, so I’m pretty pleased with myself. 2017 sees the Justice League vs Teen Titans reading challenge, this time hosted by Wayland. I don’t think I’ll be quite as determined to recruit/defeat everyone this time round, as it did sort of take over my reading in 2016. But I’ll see what I can do! I won’t keep track of my progress on the blog, just on our Goodreads group.
  • I read 137 books towards my Goodreads goal of 100, so went well over. Even more for 2017? 😉

 

Currently reading:

How was December for you?