THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski Book Review
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy, #1
Publication Date: March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 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.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Book Review Overview:
- Intelligent heroine who saves the day
- Romance develops at a believable pace
After the Herranis were defeated during the Herran War, they were enslaved by the Valorians. The people are forced into servitude while the Valorians live in their homes. Kestrel is the daughter of the Valorian army’s general, and as the general’s daughter she has the choice of following in her father’s footsteps in the army or marrying. One day, Kestrel impulsively buys a slave at auction. Kestrel is drawn to Arin, a defiant young slave. Soon, she finds herself falling in love with him, but Arin has secrets that will turn Kestrel’s world upside down.
What I love most about Kestrel is that she’s not the butt-kicking heroine that we see so often in young adult novels nowadays. Kestrel may not have the athleticism and survival skills like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent, but Kestrel is still a strong female lead in her own way. Kestrel knows that her strengths lie in planning and strategy. Despite her father’s years of experience in the military, Kestrel can draw up a better and more successful battle plan. To me, there’s nothing better than a heroine who uses her brains to save the day.
When I hear star-crossed lovers, I’m always skeptical. But much to my great surprise, THE WINNER’S CURSE delivers. The romance between Kestrel and Arin is real. There’s no instant attraction, no insta-love. The romance develops at a believable pace. Furthermore, the romance is not perfect because they have to overcome not only the barrier between classes, but also the divide between their people. Arin and Kestrel are always questioning their feelings and their loyalties. Because they are on two different sides of a war, the romance is complicated.
The combination of the strong female protagonist and the believable romance makes THE WINNER’S CURSE an enjoyable read from beginning to end.
CRESS by Marissa Meyer Book Review
Series: Lunar Chronicles, #3
Publication Date: February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
Cress by Marissa Meyer Book Review Overview:
- Cress is a great addition to the wonderful cast of characters
- The third book in the series does not lack action, but it does build up to the final installment
- The Lunar Chronicles is one of the few series that just keeps getting better with each additional book.
One of the dilemmas I face as a book lover is trying to get hooked on a series. These days, I always find myself reading the first book in a series, but I never get around to reading the others. Reading a whole series takes a lot of commitment, and it takes more than just liking a book. Beyond an interesting plot, the characters and the world-building needs to be spot on. I need to care about the protagonist even after the first book comes to an end.
Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series continues to be a hit with the third book, Cress. A classic fairy tale character inspires each book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cress is loosely based on Rapunzel.
Cress picks up immediately where the last book, Scarlet, leaves off. I’m always worried that after waiting a long period of time for the next book in the series, I’ll forget just about everything that happened in the previous book. Luckily, I was able to jump back into the world that Meyer has created without much confusion.
Cinder and her friends are still fugitives on the run. Queen Levana of the Lunar colony is determined to catch and kill Cinder before everyone finds out that Cinder’s true identity is Princess Selene, the rightful heir to the throne of Luna. Despite the price on her head, Cinder knows she cannot hide forever. She needs to stop the marriage between Queen Levana and Prince Kai. Though the Queen promises an alliance between Luna and Earth, Cinder knows that she cannot be trusted.
Cress introduces a character that becomes Cinder’s newest ally. For years, Cress has been locked up on a satellite and forced to spy on the Earthens. A master hacker and programmer, Cress is the mastermind responsible for keeping Lunar activity undetected by the people on Earth. But Cress knows that she is being taken advantage of and she knows that she must put an end to Queen Levana’s reign. Cress agrees to use her knowledge to help Cinder overthrow Queen Levana for the exchange of her rescue from her satellite prison.
Cress is a wonderful addition to the vibrant cast of characters. Each character has such a developed back story that readers really get to know each one of them. Despite the large number of characters and alternating perspectives, the narrative does not get confusing. On the contrary, the multiple storylines keep the pages turning. I’m invested in all of the characters and I never find myself skimming chapters not told in Cinder’s perspective.
Being the third book in the series, my biggest fear that all 400 pages would be filled with lots of development and very little action. Despite the fact that the plot does build up to the final book in the series, Cress does not lack action. The plot continues to thicken in Cress with lots of jaw-dropping twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Meyer continues to delve into the origins of letumosis, a deadly disease that has plagued Earth and killed thousands. Dr. Erland gets one step closer to developing a cure. With the help of Cress, Cinder uncovers more about Queen Levana and her nefarious plans to take over Earth.
Marissa Meyer is one of the few authors whose series just gets better with every additional book. Cress is an action-packed page-turner with unforgettable characters. You’ll never want to leave the world of the Lunar Chronicles and you’ll be waiting eagerly for the final installment.
About the Author
Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and three cats. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, color-coordinating her bookshelf . . .), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was given a small book of them when she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg. Cinder is her first novel.
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INGENUE by Jillian Larkin Book Review
Series: Flappers, #2
Publication Date: August 9th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Power . . . love . . . scandal . . .
There’s never enough to go around.
In the city that never sleeps, Lorraine Dyer is wide awake. Ever since she exposed Clara Knowles for the tramp she was—and lost her closest confidante in the process—Lorraine has spent every second scheming to make her selfish, lovesick ex–best friend pay for what she did. No one crosses Lorraine. Not even Gloria.
True love conquers everything—or so Gloria Carmody crazily believed. She and Jerome Johnson can barely scrape together cash for their rent, let alone have a moment to whisper sweet nothings in the dark. And if they thought escaping Chicago meant they’d get away with murder . . . they were dead wrong.
Clara was sure that once handsome, charming Marcus Eastman discovered her shameful secret, he’d drop her like a bad habit. Instead, he swept her off her feet and whisked her away to New York. Being with Marcus is a breath of fresh air—and a chance for Clara to leave her wild flapper ways firmly in the past. Except the dazzling parties and bright lights won’t stop whispering her name. . . .
INGENUE is the second novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic Flappers series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . where revenge is a dish best served cold.
Ingenue by Jillian Larkin Book Review Overview:
- Much to my surprise, I ended up enjoying Ingenue even more than I enjoyed the first book
- More intense drama and romance made Ingenue by Jillian Larkin a page-turner!
- Ingenue lacked a sense of place – but overall it was still an enjoyable read
Lately, I’ve been a sucker for books set in the Flapper era. So when I was craving a historical read, I knew I just had to pick up Ingenue by Jillian Larkin and continue with the Flappers series. Much to my surprise, I ended up enjoying the sequel even more than I enjoyed the first book, Vixen.
Ingenue is told in alternating perspectives between four main characters: Gloria, Clara, Lorraine and Vera. Each story line continues from the previous book, Vixen. What I enjoyed about Ingenue is the fact that each girl has an interesting story. None of their chapters ever felt like filler, so I never felt like skimming over someone’s chapter to find out what happened next in someone else’s story. I loved the way that their stories overlapped at some point.
To be honest, part of the appeal of Ingenue by Jillian Larkin is all the intense drama between the characters. I just can’t get enough. The drama escalates in Ingenue and I found myself immensely liking the book even more than the first book – which rarely happens. Ingenue is a page-turner and I couldn’t put the book down. The romance is also just as exciting in Ingenue. Gloria and Jerome continue to be a power couple in Ingenue even if things are not going smoothly as planned.
I think that what Ingenue by Jillian Larkin really lacked is a sense of place. I didn’t find the setting of Ingenue all that much different from Vixen, the first book of the series – even if the setting changes. The characters of the story travel from Chicago to New York City, but I don’t really notice the difference. New York City was such a vibrant place to live in at the time, and I failed to be able to put myself on the streets of Prohibition New York City.
But overall, Ingenue by Jillian Larkin was a perfect mix of drama and history. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book, Diva.