The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads 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.

Commentary: Oh my gosh! This book was so good! There is so much I want to discuss! First of all, this book is very political and complex. The book starts off several years after the Herran War. The Valorians were the winners of the war and forced the Herrani into slavery.

Kestrel Trajan, what a character. She isn’t your typical fighter, she’s a strategist. She is cunning, smart, manipulative, and caring. She is the General’s daughter and is constantly pressured into joining the military for her skills. Her father sees how much good she can bring to the empire if she joins. One of my favorite scenes, had to be when Kestrel won her duel against Irex when she blackmailed him, even though he was far more superior when it came to fighting. Kestrel doesn’t want to be in the military, she wants her own independence. She is far more compassionate towards the slaves compared to any other Valorians.

Arin, is a slave and spy. He is just as intelligent as Kestrel. He works under Cheat, the leader of the Herran Revolution. He and Kestrel have a complicated relationship. They think they know what is best for each other. It did feel that both of them kept playing a game to get the upper hand in their relationship. What I really appreciate about this story is that both protagonists don’t instantly fall in love with each other. Their love slowly grows and I love the theme of forbidden love so much. I loved how much he tried protecting Kestrel. He protected her from taking the poison, he protected her from Cheat’s advances, and he protected her from becoming a slave. Secondly, I loved the two alternating pov. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

Praise the Lord! No love triangles! Sorry Ronan! Kestrel and Arin are perfect for each other. Ronan tries really hard to gain her affections, but she always ignores him and falls for Arin instead.  ੧| ‾́︶ ‾́ |੭

I did not like Cheat at all. He was corrupt and creepy. I, for one, am glad that he is dead.  Man, he was definitely my least like character next to Irex.

Kestrel and Arin have conflicting ideals, and they have to overcome their issues. Arin wants his people to become a nation, while Kestrel doesn’t want any more deaths for both sides. While reading, I felt sad for the people who suffered on both sides. I was rooting for the rebels to take back their lands. I was not that ending of the book! It was so good!!! I was shocked that the she was forced into a loveless marriage, just so the Arin and his people would have their independence, but at a price. I am really excited to see what’s in store for the second book cause I am hooked!! ╰(◉ᾥ◉)╯

Quotes: 

“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”

“My soul is yours”, he said. “You know that it is.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

The Elite by Kiera Cass: Book Review

Goodreads Synposis:

The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Commentary: I thought that The Elite was going to be better than the first one…I was wrong. I found myself very frustrated reading this book because of America. I previously mentioned that I felt she was an okay protagonist in the first book, but in this one, words cannot even describe how annoying she was. She kept going back and forth between both Prince Maxon and Aspen…she couldn’t make up her mind. I really felt that this series should have not been expanded into a trilogy nor should have the book been set in a dystopian society. America was spoiled and very conflicted about her feelings for Maxon. She could hardly trust him and had jealously issues, but she would immediately change her opinion about him when he paid her attention. I swear, she acted like the whole competition was about her…I didn’t even think I could finish this book, but somehow I did. Also, she kept getting jealous at Maxon when she was cheating on him with Aspen. How is that justifiable?

I would have preferred this book if Maxon picked one of the other girls besides America. What’s so great America anyways? Then let’s talk about the rebels, I felt that the rebels were built up in this book and it was so disappointing. I really wanted America to be captured by the rebels when they were running after her. They just let her live and that was it. What was that? It would have made for a much cooler series if she was captured and became leader of the rebels, but that’s just me. Then there’s hardly any description for the war happening in New Asia, I don’t think it was relevant to the plot. Aspen is too perfect, and he is a bit boring. He was annoying and had to stop trying to win her back. I didn’t like the love triangle in this book at all. Whenever he and America were together, I wanted someone to spy on them or catch them in the act. That would have been more interesting to read. Before starting this book, I felt that in the second book Maxon was going to find out about them…he didn’t. How does he not know that Aspen is a palace guard? Oh Maxon, its really hard to hate him. He does so much for America, but she doesn’t see his efforts to win her over. There were some good parts such as like Marlee Tames and Carter Woodwork canned by the royals. I really enjoyed that part because the author finally gave a clear answer to why she was so secretive in the first book. I also did like the Halloween party and the reunion with families as well. I don’t think I will reread this book at all, but it wasn’t as bad as the Meyer Dyer series. I think I need time away from this series before reading the last book. I felt it was very cliché…

Final Rating: 👑👑👑(2.5)

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Book Review

“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”

Hello readers, I just finished the second book to the Mara Dyer trilogy. I really had low expectations of the book, but I was wrong about this book. I am currently reading the Retribution of Mara Dyer and I will post my review of the last book once I finish reading!

 Cover: Lovely cover!

Goodreads Synposis:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Characters:

Mara: I really like Mara. I felt bad for her in this book. She kept trying to get better and pass off as “normal”, you could really tell that she loves her family. It was heartbreaking to know that she was seen as psychotic and broken, even though it’s revealed to the readers that she’s not. She was stronger in this book than the first book. Though Jude kept torturing her throughout the novel, she managed to overcome many obstacles. It was heartbreaking reading about her struggle to overcome her past demon. I still love Mara’s family. They are really supportive of her and try to do what is best for her, even though they don’t know she’s different from them. I did like how the author had two Maras in the book, one being the protagonist, and the other being her grandma who happened to have the same power as her. I hope more of her grandmother’s past gets revealed in the final book.

Noah: I grew to love Noah in the second book, and he didn’t come out as too over the top for me in this novel. He really loves Mara and tries to help her whatever way he can. I felt really bad for Noah whenever he blamed himself when Mara got hurt. If Noah weren’t there for Mara, I don’t think that she would be strong enough to overcome her guilt and remorse. I did enjoy the moments he and Mara shared; they definitely grew stronger as a couple. In the first book, he really annoyed me and I couldn’t stand his character, but now, this book changed my perspective of Noah. Before reading the second book, I had low expectations for Noah and I was wrong. Lastly, Noah can’t be dead. He just can’t. I just have to wait for the last book to know what happens! This is my favorite Noah Shaw quote (I can’t believe I actually have one): “If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”

Jude: There is only way I can describe Jude, he’s just insane. He was creepy throughout the novel. He kept trying to make Mara seem insane and kept haunting her. I really did not like Jude. He kept trying to avenge his sister, even though it was impossible. I had a feeling that he had a power like Noah and Mara. He was terrible, but he was a pawn and was being used. I still don’t feel sorry for him, because he made Mara suffer mentally and physically. I didn’t like that he lied and used Phoebe as a pawn in his revenge plan, but then again, I didn’t like Phoebe.

Dr. Kells: I knew something was off about her. I did not see that twist coming at all. I thought she was a bit creepy, but I did not expect her to know that Jude was alive nor aid him in capturing Mara. Secondly, I can’t believe that she lied about the program to Mara and her parents. The twist really threw me off, but it made the second book so much better. I like her as the villain and I can’t wait for the final installment.

Why I liked it: Yes, this book was over the top, but it still had its elements of surprise and creepiness. Mara tried to be normal and things were looking up for her. Her family was starting to not worry as much for her, but the events that took place didn’t allow for that. I did like that part of the book where Mara gets her fortune told and I do believe what the fortune teller told her was true: “You will love him to ruins.” Secondly, I loved the doll and the background story. It made this book super interesting. I wanted to know why Mara’s grandma and Noah’s mother had matching pendants. I hope I could get answers to how those two are connected. Then there’s Abel Lukumi, how did he know what hospital Mara was at? Was he a hallucination? (I doubt it, but I hope he returns in the final book). I had a feeling Stella was going to be unique, but I was surprised when reading that Jamie also carried the same gene as the others. I want to know Jamie and Stella’s power. Lastly, I can’t wait to read the last book.

My final rating is ★★★★☆. 😌

P.S.: I feel this song describes the book perfectly.