The next book I've selected for the 2014 Most Anticipated Event is one that has been building buzz for awhile. I first heard about it at Book Expo America and knew it was going to be one I pined for. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.
Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart
It sounds amazing, and that cover is one of the prettiest I've seen for the 2014 line up! Marie was kind enough to answer a few questions about The Winner's Curse and I think you'll want to read it as much as I do after you've checked out her answers.
Manipulative. Brave. Vulnerable.
2 It sounds like your book's world might be a dangerous one to live in. How long do you think you would last if transported into your book's setting?
I think that answer would depend on what kind of social status I'd have in the world and at which point in time I'd be dropped into it. The Winner's Curse is a world of masters and slaves, tea parties and war, ball gowns and dueling daggers. If I were part of the ruling class (the Valorians), I'd be able to navigate the dangers within that class-- gossip, gambling, romantic liaisons, the occasional duel (so long as it's for honor's sake only, and not to the death). A lot of that part of The Winner's Curse reminds me of Jane Austen-- except with weapons-- because, I suppose, in an Austen novel someone's fate can hinge upon a few choice words, and the characters' lives revolve around dances, dinners, tea, and excursions to town for shopping or flirting with soldiers. I can do all of that very well, and I love to wear a pretty dress.
This is all assuming that I wouldn't be a soldier, since a great deal of Valorians are in the military and always at war. I wouldn't survive long on the battlefield.
The Valorians conquered the territory of Herran ten years ago and enslaved its people. If I were transported into this world as a slave (i.e., one of the Herrani), I think I would also be able to survive, if only because I can keep my head down, plot, and bide my time (necessary skills for a writer).
But-- without giving too much away-- this world is about to be thrown into chaos, and I'm not sure how long I'd last then, as either a Valorian or Herrani, since so much of survival will mean keeping your wits in very scary situations. I've never been in a life-or-death situation, so I can't say whether I'd be able to think through my fear. My guess is that I wouldn't be able to do that very well.
3 What three things do you need while revising?
Good friends willing to read the manuscript. Trustworthy babysitters (I have two small children and a job as an English professor, so finding time to write and revise is key). A room with a door that shuts (Stephen King said that this was crucial for any writer. He wrote Carrie in the laundry room of his doublewide trailer-- and he could shut himself inside. The space itself doesn't matter-- just the privacy).
4 Are you able to share a secret about one of the characters, the world, something that inspired something about the world/characters?
The book begins when Kestrel (a Valorian) buys Arin (a Herrani). A friend of mine from a long time ago, in another country, was named Arin-- pronounced like Aaron but spelled as an anagram of the word "rain," because it was raining when he was born. I've always loved this name and also its story, and although I didn't think about it too much when I was writing the book, I now feel that the quality and nature of rain influenced how I developed Arin's character. Rain can come in such different forms-- violent and driving, warm and soft, gray or backlit with sun-- and all of them could suit Arin at different points in the novel.
5 What 2014 release are you most looking forward to?
Very tough question! I'm not actually sure of what all is coming out in 2014...from what I do know, I'm most looking forward to Laini Taylor's Dreams of Gods and Monsters and Leigh Bardugo's Ruin and Rising.
A huge thank you to Marie for taking the time to answer these. The Winner's Curse will be in stores March 4, 2014. If you haven't read the excerpt DO IT IMMEDIATELY and you'll be pining right along with me.
If you want to learn more you can visit the author's website, or the publishers website.
You can pre-order at the following retailers
Barnes and Noble
You'll have a chance to win one of these titles soon, as I will be hosting a giveaway that these interviews may help you win!
Be sure to let me know what you think of The Winner Curse's cover, the synopsis, or anything else in the comments!