Betrayal, longing and honor; The Winner's Curse is rife with all three. This is a book for readers who like the keener edge of high fantasy. It's heavy on imagination with just enough grit. Kestrel and Arin should hate each other but cannot bring themselves to do so. The two are enemies in every way, but their mutual attraction could spell doom for them both. Still, their forbidden love makes this book impossible to put down.

Kestrel is a Valorian woman trained in the art of military strategy by her father. Ten years ago the Valorians conquered and enslaved the indigenous Herrani. At seventeen-years-old, she faces two choices — to marry at age 20 or join the military. Neither choice appeals to Kestrel's reckless nature and love of music. When an auction brings Arin, a young Herrani slave who is more than he seems, into Kestrel's view, she buys him on impulse. He is described as a singer and Kestrel cannot resist his potential talents. (FARRAR, STRAUS, AND GIROUX, Mar., 368 pp., $17.99,  ISBN: 9780374384678, HC, 13 & Up)

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Reviewed by: 
Krys Tourtois