-from The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkowski
This book isn't quite dystopian and barely qualifies for fantasy, but it does take place in another time and place with elements that make it feel both futuristic and historical. It started out really slow for me and the only thing that kept me going is that Rutkoski's writing is so well done that I trusted her talents (that, and the gorgeous cover! ha). I'm glad I did trust because this book really picks up about a third of the way in and I was unable to put it down! The action and change of pace really turned this into one of my favorite books this year!
Kestrel is also a great asset to this book because she's a heroine who is strong and courageous yet relatable and flawed. While she accepts her people's customs of keeping slaves and doesn't really know any different, she also questions their captivity and even goes so far to free her nurse maid. Sometimes Kestrel's desire to do what she wants or to do what is right gets her in trouble, but for the most part this is what I liked about her. It made her seem less perfect and polished; I loved when she would mouth off to people and speak her mind. It made me relate to her much more!
My perception of Arin changed a lot throughout the book. While I think I enjoy his character overall, he is very good at keeping a poker face to not only Kestrel, but also the reader. Any negative feelings I have toward him were probably more due to Rutkoski's writing abilities than any inabilities. There is so much more to examine, but it's difficult to do this without spoilers or giving too much away that will affect your reading experience. To better understand what I mean about Arin.... you'll just have to read the book for yourself!
Overall this was just what I needed to get me out of a reading rut. When I was finished with the book I was so sad to find that the sequel doesn't come out for another few months! What will I do with that much time to wait?!
Bottom Line: This is a great book for any fantasy/dystopian fans who want light fantasy without science fiction. A great story overall and I can't wait for the sequel! 5/5 Stars