Why did I want to read this book?
I was left reeling with all kinds of feelings after I turned that last page on Book 1. To say that I wanted to read Book 2 is like the understatement of the century. I wanted to know more about Arin and Kestrel!
What worked for me?
Everything! Every. Freakin’. Thing. (pardon my French.)
I was a little worried if Marie Rutkoski would be able to top The Winner’s Curse. I loved that book to bits as well. But this book. Gosh, it was everything I didn’t try to hope for, everything I was afraid to hope for, and everything I didn’t even know I wanted in the story. It took me a while to get this review out, not because I didn’t have anything to say but because I didn’t know how to translate that into a coherent thought. Because if I could describe to you my reaction while reading the book, it will be something like this: oooohhh, awwww, nooooo!, omg! how?, why? please… a pretty much incoherent web of reactions and emotions. And this happened pretty much the whole time I was reading the book. So I hope you guys can bear with me as I try to put down my feelings about this book.
First, I just love the tension. Everything was fraught with it. It was palpable. It was dangerous. It was amazing. From the strain in the relationship or non-relationship of Kestrel and Arin, the stakes of the political maneuverings that they both have to take apart and rebuild piece by piece, the sacrifices that they need to make, the decisions that they need to stand by firmly, to that heavy atmosphere of longing and despair and having hope against all odds, it’s the stuff of EPIC-ness in its epic proportion.
Second, every word spoke to my heart. Every page was just food for my reader’s heart. Those words weren’t there to just fill the pages. Every word, every conversation, every character’s thought was there for a reason. And the sheer balance and compactness and complementary quality of those words together were simply magical.
Third, the pacing and plot turns were just right for my taste. The quiet moments had their turn. The at-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes were also given their due. You know that feeling of not reading the book fast enough because you want to know how it all turns out but at the same time reading the book slow enough because you never want it to end.
Fourth. And fifth. KESTREL. ARIN. *curtain closes to a standing ovation*
What did not work for me?
Not a thing. This is a book gem! What a great read!
My over-all take on it?
I know I’ve spouted all kinds of praises for this book. I think I’ve used up all the superlatives in my reviewer vocabulary. But I am standing by every praise and imploring you to give this book and this series a chance if you haven’t read it yet. It’s amazing.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
Marie Rutkoski is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Winner’s Curse (March 2014). She grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois as the oldest of four children and decided early on that she was Someone Who Loved Books.
After attending the University of Iowa and living in Moscow and Prague, she studied Shakespeare at Harvard University, where she honed her skill in referring to herself in the third person.
Marie is now a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance drama, children’s literature, and fiction writing. New York City is her home, and she thinks there must be birds of prey living in Washington Square Park; she can see large, wheeling wings from the window where she sits and writes. Marie has two small sons who try very hard to make friends with the family cat, only to be snubbed for the dark quiet of a closet. Marie can tie a double figure-eight knot with her eyes closed. She’s learning how to play the violin. She’s a sucker for fancy tea, and her favorite dessert is crème brulée. Or maybe sticky toffee pudding. Tough call.
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More Marie Rutkoski on the blog:
The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
Have you read any of the books in the Winner’s trilogy? What do you think would be the fate of Kestrel and Arin?