Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

16069030Genre: 

Young Adult, prescription  Fantasy

Pages: 

355

Part of a Series?:

The first in a planned trilogy, I believe

Release Date: 

March 4th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Review:

I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR pile for quite some time now and I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally get to it. I received it from Fierce Reads in exchange for helping to promote during their Spring/Summer releases last year and its a signed copy and everything. I was struggling to pick a book to read and my eyes landed on the absolutely GORGEOUS cover and decided, let’s do it.

And I am SO glad I did. I FLEW through this book. While the premise of the book sounded really great, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It was just absolutely fantastic. The world that Marie created BREATHES off the page, it feels so real. The minute that you meet both Kestrel and Arin, you’re just sucked in. They both are such deep and compelling characters. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the split POVs but in this case, I loved it. You were given a chance to really get to know each character, to see them both struggle with the complicated friendship/relationship that builds between them. I also think it was a good way to build up to that incredible climax.

The book has a beautiful romance to it but there’s so much more than that. This is a country full of people enslaved to their conquerers. Arin is part of those people and you are so fiercely on his side, wanting him to overcome this life and take his country back. But you are also afraid for Kestrel, and her friends, her father, the people that you grow to care about because you’re in her head. When the climax hits (and I won’t say much more than that because, you know, spoilers), and everything kind of blows up, its incredible. It creates an incredibly complicated situation and you’re torn in pieces. You see everyone’s point of view and you want everything to just…work out and it doesn’t and its incredibly heartbreaking. Its very real and genuine and the characters are just beautiful.

What I really loved about this book is how realistic it felt. The realities of being a conquered country, of war, of a relationship between two people on complete opposite sides…it all felt so incredibly real. There was no fairy tale storytelling and that’s what I loved. You’re sitting here, thinking, how on earth is any of this going to work out…and then it hits you, maybe it won’t.  And that is definitely enough for me to keep turning the page. Now I can’t wait for the second book!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Inspire by Cora Carmack

22824819Genre: 

New Adult, ampoule Romance, sick Fantasy

Pages: 

284

Part of a Series?:

First Novel in a Trilogy (?)

Release Date: 

December 15th, more about 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

My Review:

Seriously. Cora. How can you do this to me? First, you made me fall in love with Carson. And then Silas. Then, let’s face it, I’ll probably fall madly in love with Torres. But in the meantime, I just fell madly in love with Kalli and Wilder.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was going to be good because the Rusk University series has seriously made me fall madly in love with Cora as a writer. I read Inspire because it was on sale for 99 cents and I couldn’t really turn down a deal like that, especially when I was feeling a little slumpy (despite the hundred books sitting in a pile, waiting to be read), so I decided to buy it.

And I just love it. It was such a beautiful and addicting book. I didn’t think it was possible for Cora to make me love her more as a writer but it was. I immediately absolutely love Kalli. You’re in her head, and you feel her struggle. She’s a goddess, a muse, weighed down by this power that she has to use…but also is dangerous to use as well. You feel her struggle and you just want her to have a normal life. She immediately felt like someone I would want to be best friends with, and not just because she would help my writing flourish haha.

Then we enter Wilder. And they immediately have a connection, from their brief encounter at the grocery store, to their first encounter…in…the…shower, I was sold on them. Their romance was quick, thrilling, sexy, hot. There is a thread of fate between them and I knew that I wanted them together so badly. They had an incredibly chemistry, and there are some seriously steamy scenes between them that made me blush in all the best ways possible. You really want to root for them. You really want Kalli to have a normal life even though she really can never possibly be normal.

And that’s where things get complicated. The book is in split point of views, so that we get both sides of the story, Kalli and Wilder. And when we learn things about Wilder that Kalli doesn’t know (which I can’t say, because, you know, spoiler free), your hands are clutched tightly to the pages, frantically flipping, waiting for the moment when things are going to implode, because inevitably shit is going to hit the fan. And when it does, I was in near tears, hoping that things were going to work out. This book is an emotional roller coaster. It made me laugh and blush, and it made me pant and it made me tear up more than once.

What really gets me about this book though is that its so different from anything we’ve seen from Cora yet. She says that fantasy is actually her forte, what she had spent many years writing and that she went with the contemporary of Losing It, to try and get published. Now, having read Inspire, you can see how that was something she felt so comfortable writing for so long. It seems effortless, the world and characters that she has created and I bought into almost immediately. And its a story of Greek mythology that I definitely don’t think is out there. Kalliope and her sisters, the muses, you don’t see versions of that at all.

All in all, Cora completely scores with this fantasy romance, with her characters, her steamy scenes and the mythology she weaves into the novel. Its beautiful and she leaves me with such an epic cliffhanger that I was super disappointed when the book ended. Luckily, hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars