Valorian Hustle

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1) - Marie Rutkoski
Happiness depends on being free.
And freedom depends on being courageous.

I’ll probably re-write this review when I’m less lazy. I’m sorry but this is all my brain could churn out right now.

I liked the story. But I would’ve loved the story to have included other conflicts outside of Arin and Kestrel… I mean, the way this world was built, I believe there’s much too big unexplored space for issues outside what this chose to run away with. Maybe a better backstory on the Valorian-Herrani conflict because it felt too rudimentary the way it was explained.

I liked the characters. Kestrel is the kind of heroine my assassin-fatigued heart needs right now. I liked her tactical mind. I love that she has average combative skills. but the strategic mind games she plays with Arin, their complex relationship, as well as with her father, more than made up for it. I SHIP KESTREL. HARD.

I liked the setting and the social motifs and the emotional conflicts that follow its wake. I have a great appreciation of the unique imagination behind the Valorian and Herrani culture. The theme of doing what you need to do in order to survive reminds me of Amy Adams’ monologue inAmerican Hustle… I know. Don’t ask. I’m weird. 

I loved the story about the god and the seamstress. I loved the moment between Kestrel, Arin and Javellin towards the end. I loved the topaz earrings and Bites and Stings. I loved snatches of scenes, brief exchanges, the unspoken dialogues that digs deep (that last scene was a killer)… but I still felt that a majority of the book was told in muted greys when it demanded a technicolor cinematography in my mind. It feels like its asking for a sweeping, epic narrative but instead was told in deafening subtlety (if that makes sense). I like subtlety, but there are certain stories that demand flamboyance in the right amount (just ask Baz Luhrmann).

The snow fell on her, it fell on him, but Kestrel knew that no single flake could ever touch them both.

Was it worth the hype? Eh. 

It does have a story that deserves to be read, it was quite good. And yes I’m still tuning in for the next book.

But personally, World After remains the only book that has lived up to its hype to me.

So far.