The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkovski

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I have no idea why I waited so long to read this series. OH MY GOSH. Not only does this novel have a beautifully crafted world, it also has characters that you fall for instantly. Kestral is a force to be retconned with. A girl forced into a life that doesn't fit. A girl who could do so much more if given the chance. And then Kestral wins at an auction and her life is changed for ever. From that one moment, plans are put into place that no one sees until it is all too late. With this novel I couldn't decide what side I was on until the very end, and even then I didn't know. This is one of those novels that your emotions are constantly going back and forth. One of those novels that you partially swoon, cringe, and scream. I need more and I can't wait to jump into the second novel.

Synopsis:

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.

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