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The winner's curse : a novel
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<p> A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER </p> <p> Winning what you want may cost you everything you love <br> They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.</p> <p>Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.</p>
Trade Reviews

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-As a member of the ruling Valorian class and the daughter of General Trajan, 17-year-old Kestrel must either marry or enlist in the army before she turns 20. She does not want to do either. A talented musician and gambler, the headstrong teen would rather play the piano or a game of Bite and Sting than fight. When she impulsively purchases a 19-year-old Herrani slave called Smith at an auction, she makes a decision that pierces her hermetic, privileged world. The more their paths cross, the more their relationship evolves and changes into something undefined and new. Unbeknownst to Kestrel, however, the mysterious and talented Smith, whose real name is Arin, is part of an uprising that is plotting to free the Herrani by destroying their enslavers. Winner's Curse is a riveting novel about social stratification, mistrust, and honor---but even more, it's a book that challenges readers to think about morality and the way deep emotion and a lust for revenge can make the separation between right and wrong as hazy as shifting clouds. Where should Kestrel's loyalty lie: with her people or the exploited Herrani? Do years of mistreatment justify annihilating an entire people? In this well-paced novel, there is violence, action-packed battle scenes, and descriptions of gruesome deaths. There is also hope that love will be the real winner and faith that it can be greater than the curse of war.-Chelsey Philpot, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

As 17-year-old Kestrel comes to know Arin, the Herrani slave she purchased on a whim, she puts both herself and him at risk. Arin, 19, also finds himself falling for this daughter of the Valorian general who conquered his homeland. A Herrani uprising briefly reverses their roles of owner and slave until the Valorian empire prevails, and a last-minute compromise by Kestrel may save Arin's life but it will make it impossible for them to be together. A refreshing change from supernatural and problem novels, this fantasy is pure romance (not sex) elevated above genre stereotypes by a talented author who understands pacing and satisfaction. Full-bodied characters explore issues of loyalty, class, and values (for example, arts versus military strengths), without sacrificing any of the relationship-related tension that is a hallmark of this kind of story. A tasty twist of an ending virtually locks readers in for subsequent entries in the series. Fans may want to revisit this one while they wait for future books; maybe get more than one copy?--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2014 Booklist
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