I can count on one hand the books I've read more than once. Harry Potter, Graceling, The Seven Realms, The Hunger Games....and now, The Winner's Curse. Yes. It's that good.
I first read this book back in September. I absolutely adored it and immediately told anyone and everyone I knew that they HAD to read it! But over the months I started to wonder if I had built it up in my head to be better than what it really was. So when I received the audiobook from Listening Library, I thought it would be the perfect chance to see if I really loved it as much as I remembered. I shouldn't have worried.
Marie is an incredible word artist. The way she built this alternate world was stunning. There are plot twists, betrayals, loyalties, political intrigues, music, duels, friendships, love, secrets...more secrets, and lies. The characters are some of the most multi-dimensional characters I've ever read. There is so much depth to Kestrel and Arin. Their personalities, backgrounds, thoughts and emotions are complex and intelligent. And the chemistry between them is just fierce! I loved how complicated their relationship was. And how complicated their struggle was. There is no easy answer here. Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong. I didn't know who I wanted to win and who I wanted to lose.
This book makes me want to cry from loving it too much. The writing hurts my soul it was so beautiful. I'm not exaggerating when I say I literally ached after it was over. For the story, for Kestrel, for Arin, for their impossible love, but mostly for myself, because I have to wait so long to find out what happens next.
If there is one book that you buy this year, let this be the book.
ALL THE STARS! All of them.
The audiobook was narrated by Justine Eyre. I thought she did an amazing job, though I'll admit it took me a bit to get used to her style (She has a way of drawing out her words that was a little different). She,I believe, created accents for the characters, because the Valorian and Herrani accents were talked about so much. I really liked this a lot! It made me feel like I was in another world. She did a great job of differentiating between the characters, so I always knew who was speaking, and she brought an added emotional element with the way she read certain scenes. If you're looking for a new audiobook, I recommend this one HIGHLY, for the narration, and especially for the amazing story!