Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

        I learned this book from @WinnersCursePh in twitter so thank you. I really did enjoy this book. So the novel starts with the general's daughter, Kestrel, who accidentally witness a slave auction and during that auction she was drawn to Arin, which causes her to purchase him for a huge sum of money, thus acknowledging her of having a winner's curse. But little did she knew that it was all orchestrated in order for the Herranis to overthrow the Valorians. The motive behind it is to regain their state back. And as they spend time together they began to form a relationship; from being merely companions to one another to becoming romantically involved. This relationship is considered taboo since a Herrani and Valorian relationship is looked down upon, since the Herranis are considered to be slaves. 

          What I liked about this novel is politics behind it. It reminded me of the colonizations that took place in the past with the relationship between the Herranis and Valorians being just like the ones of the Philippines and Spain during the Spanish Colonial Period in a way that the Spaniards or the Mestizos are considered the higher class or the elites of societies while the Filipinos or Indios are considered the slaves. This mirrors the slave-master relationship between the Herranis and Valorians with the Herranis being the Slaves and the Valorians being the elites. In addition, the revolution aspect of the novel is also interesting in a way the we see the intellectuals, Arin and Cheats, concocting and heading the revolution and that is parallel to what has happened in the past (e.g The French Revolution and The American Revolution). Case on point the Philippine Revolution wherein the the illustrados planted revolutionary ideas through books, arts, and newspaper in the minds of the Filipinos. 
            In addition, I commend the author for giving us a fresh new female protagonist. Kestrel is different from other young adult female protagonist since she show how strong she is intellectually and she wields knowledge as her weapon of choice. Also she is very strong minded given and she does have to make difficult decisions. One is when she has to choose between joining the military or getting married, both which she does not like. This shows the complexity of her character and that she is human. Meanwhile, I also encountered problems while reading this novel is first the lack of intensity for me. The climax of the story was very tame, it did not have a lot of action and tension. Another is the romance between Arin and Kestrel. I love that it does not have a sudden love scenario but there was an initial attraction between them. The romance aspect between the two characters for me were very lightly touched on which confuses me in some parts in a way that I didn't fully know the progression of their relationship and it makes me think if they do really love one another. I mean they do care for one another but I'm not sure if they love one another or they just think they do due to the situation their in and what happened to both of them. Maybe I'll get to see more on the progression of their relationship in the next books. 

          I do recommend trying out this series if you like the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo or the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Also if you like a book with great political aspects this book is definitely for you. 

So that is all for this blogpost. Thank you for reading! Be sure to comment your thoughts and reaction towards this book in the comment section below. 

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