Reviewed by Geneva, age 15
It is a young adult novel with a feel of both a historical or fantasy setting, but does not neatly fit under either category. The prose is beautiful, the romance is believable, and as I was reading, the world felt tangible and real.
The book centers around seventeen-year-old Kestrel, the daughter of the empire's general. Her empire enslaves those it conquers, and basks in its wartime success. In this sovereignty, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military, or she can get married.
However, she has other intentions. One day, Kestrel impusively buys a young slave during an auction. She is oblivious to the backlash and the unitended consequences that will follow. But when secrets arise and Kestrel's love for the slave begins to grow, she becomes aware of the high price she had paid in exchange for a slave's life.
What I enjoyed most about this book was its political intrigue. I have never read a book with such layers and complexity within its world. I was interested in each characters' role in their sovereignty, and how their decisions could impact more than just their surroundings. They were beyond citizens of an empire; they were pieces in a game of life or death.
In short, I thoroughly loved this book. The Winner's Curse features all my favourite aspects of a book – believable characters, poetic writing, and a setting that you cannot help but to feel you are in. I highly recommend!