Monday, February 02, 2015

2015 book 33

Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse
Ah geez, this has an inauspicious start for sure, and things do not really improve from there. Our protagonist is a wealthy girl, daughter of a high-powered general in the conquering army of whatever land they're in, but she refuses to join the military because she loves MUSIC. OK, that's fine, but in basically the first scene, she buys a slave. I mean, she feels SUPER bad about it. Slavery is bad! (This is not reallllllly a dis on Rutkoski, but it is kind of hard to make slave owners sympathetic even if they do feel REALLY BAD about their slave owning.) Anyway, the sections from the POV of the slave are a lot stronger, because he's secretly very smart and observant--for a purpose, of course. This is a great contrast to the girl, who's amazingly and annoyingly clueless about everything, despite being someone who is supposed to be a brilliant strategist. Things pick up eventually, plot-wise, but the writing is over-the-top dramatic and I have MAJOR issues with a slave-owner friendship/romance. I just can't get past it (even once the situation changes). Making the romance a central part of a story like this is a real weak spot, for me, and I'm tired of YA books doing that when they could be telling a much more powerful sort of story. I feel like Rutkoski is going for a Romeo/Juliet thing here, but, ugh, NO. I wouldn't have finished this if it wasn't for book group. B-.

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