Review: Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Title: Curse, Book One in the Winners Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Kingdoms
Links: Book Depository

Blurb:

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, Kestrel has two choices; she can join the military or get married. Kestrel has other ideas.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in Arin, a young slave up for auction. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him – and for a sensational price that sets the society gossips talking. 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 is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

What I didn’t like about it:

This is a difficult book to review, because while I thought the novel moved at an excellent pace and the plot was interesting, I felt so disconnected from the characters. I felt like they were strangers across the room that I saw, but didn’t understand. I didn’t identify with them at all.

I’m not really too sure why that was, because I thought the characters were well developed. Maybe it was the writing style – it was in third person, alternating point of views and very straightforward. Not at all emotive.

This was me reading this book:

What I liked about it:

There were a couple of brief moments when Kestral and Arin really worked together. I liked the world building and the story of war between two neighbouring countries.

Overall though, this book was pretty bland. Horrible word, I know, but it didn’t stir my emotions. I really don’t know how to review it. It has so many great reviews on GoodReads, but I found it so… blah.

My Verdict – 2 stars

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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16 Responses to Review: Curse by Marie Rutkoski

  1. aetherhouse says:

    “it was in third person, alternating point of views and very straightforward. Not at all emotive”

    That’s bizarre. I specifically pick third-person-close for its emotive properties. Perhaps it’s not as emotive as first-person (which I almost find *too* emotive), but I find third-person-omni to be the bland POV. Maybe that writer didn’t utilize her chosen POV to its full potential? I find YA characters to be bland very frequently, often in favor of “high concept” plotlines, and this book sounds no different. Just because the characters are developed beyond tropes doesn’t always mean they’re interesting.

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  2. aetherhouse says:

    “it was in third person, alternating point of views and very straightforward. Not at all emotive”

    That’s bizarre. I specifically pick third-person-close for its emotive properties. Perhaps it’s not as emotive as first-person (which I almost find *too* emotive), but I find third-person-omni to be the bland POV. Maybe that writer didn’t utilize her chosen POV to its full potential? I find YA characters to be bland very frequently, often in favor of “high concept” plotlines, and this book sounds no different. Just because the characters are developed beyond tropes doesn’t always mean they’re interesting.

    Like

  3. pauljgies says:

    I don’t think there’s a right answer between first and third person. (You don’t want to talk about second person, har har.) But, just personally, I find alternating points of view to be dissociating. For one thing, I tend to like one of the characters better than the other(s), and I’m disappointed when I leave that person. For another, it just doesn’t let me slide in next to a character and get comfy. Tolkien could manage it, in The Two Towers, but that’s Tolkien, one of the greatest story-tellers of all time.

    I also agree with aetherhouse about characters in YA novels… jeez. Character is THE most important thing. Everything else—plot, concept, even setting—has to be subordinate to that human connection.

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  4. pauljgies says:

    I don’t think there’s a right answer between first and third person. (You don’t want to talk about second person, har har.) But, just personally, I find alternating points of view to be dissociating. For one thing, I tend to like one of the characters better than the other(s), and I’m disappointed when I leave that person. For another, it just doesn’t let me slide in next to a character and get comfy. Tolkien could manage it, in The Two Towers, but that’s Tolkien, one of the greatest story-tellers of all time.

    I also agree with aetherhouse about characters in YA novels… jeez. Character is THE most important thing. Everything else—plot, concept, even setting—has to be subordinate to that human connection.

    Like

  5. chyeawolves says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with alternating POV’s though most of the time, I end up preferring one characters chapter and hating the other one.

    Great review btw.

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  6. etfoster says:

    I’ve nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. 🙂

    Like

  7. kevsteph says:

    Australian novelist Patrick White had the most interesting approach to POV that I’ve ever read. Sometimes he’d use either third person limited with more than one character in a chapter. On other occasions he’d go with omniscient POV. Then when he’d want to emotionally connect with the reader he’d transition from third into second person. It made for some very interesting reading. I’ve thought about trying this myself, but I don’t think I’d be able to follow my own work.

    You have an adorable avatar, by the way. 🙂 

    Like

  8. Crystal Barnes says:

    Love the cover! If it wasn’t for your review, I might have rushed to read it for the cover alone 🙂

    Like

  9. I don’t believe it’s the POV that is disassociating. By what little I read (from the sample “Look Inside This Book” via Amazon), there was a lot of telling and not showing, which writers can be guilty of in any POV. There’s no intrigue, I was just told everything straight up in the first chapter. Perhaps the telling remains consistent throughout the book and that’s why you didn’t identify or connect?

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  10. equinoxio21 says:

    Hi Jodie. I liked your “selfie”. Sometimes a (moving) picture is worth a thousand words! I’ll stay away from that book.
    (And thanks for your visits. Always a pleasure to see you around!)
    🙂
    Have a great week down under!
    Brian

    Like

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