Friday, 20 November 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Curse

THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
3 Stars 
Verdict: Slow and flowery. 

Kestrel is clever and tough, with a strategic mind and a sharp affinity for reading others. Arin is a defiant yet skilled slave, and clearly just as intelligent. After paying too much for him in an auction, Kestrel’s name becomes tarnished in society...

The first half of the book is sssssslllllooooowwww. While I’m not denying the author is good at the flowery prose (a bit of an oxymoron), a lot of words were wasted telling me something which could have been shown in a much more interesting and succinct way.

But what really puts cement in its shoes is that nothing much happens. Oh, there’s gossip. And romance. Silly romance. Time spent with horses. Tea parties. Other parties...

Where’s the, erm, well...story?

Kestrel can be an idiot too. She’s a little hypocritical when it comes to gossipers, and spends a lot of the book sorting out her own shortfalls – actually, that made her a well rounded character who I grew to like.

On the other hand, Arin confused me. The Arin at the start of the book barely resembles the one towards the end, although there was no real catalyst for his change. I’m not sure I can believe his character arc.

I found the dialogue heavily stunted in this. The flowery prose often interfered with the flow, the moment. Nearly every line of dialogue is analysed afterwards, mostly to point out the obvious or to jar the pace. Jarring is better than constant summaries though. What could have been heated dialogue, tense debate, or witty banter, was taken out of the moment, out of direct dialogue or lifelike detail. This spilled over to the action, too. I get the sense that the author wanted to move the pace along, when really they were grinding it to a halt.

So with the pace sluggish, the dialogue distant, and the details left to the imagination, I found this book fuzzy to picture.

The last half is where it really kicks off. The war heats up, the character dilemma tangles, and Kestrel shows her aptitude for strategy.
I’m a little annoyed and how much I liked it towards the end, because it shows it could have been a fantastic book. Kestrel has a manipulative mind which twists the story in intriguing ways. The story ends with a substantial round off, yet enough to leave me curious for where it might go.

I’ll take a chance on book two, just to see where the kestrel flies.

Source: Bought it as an ebook.