The Winner’s Trilogy – Marie Rutkoski’s young adult fantasy The Winner’s Trilogy follows 17-year-old Kestrel, a general’s daughter in an empire that revels in war and enslaves the people it conquers, and Arin, a slave. Kestrel buys Arin on an impulse and, despite the two’s vastly different backgrounds and their impossibility of being together, they fall in love. As war ravages their countries, their love is put at even higher stakes as they must choose between each other or their loyalties to their homes. Beginning with The Winners Curse, Kestrel’s story is a romance made up of high stakes, secrets, and the risk of losing everything she loves.
“Rich characterization, exquisite worldbuilding and rock-solid storytelling make this a fantasy of unusual intelligence and depth. . . . The intricate and suspenseful plot, filled with politics, intrigue and even graphic violence, features neither heroes nor villains; every character displays a complex mixture of talents, flaws and motives…Breathtaking, tragic and true.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, for The Winner’s Curse