I have finished 6 books in the month of March, three of which – in the last week of March. That was The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, which I simply devoured. I have not been this invested in a book, especially YA one, since forever. Now I wish I could unread it, so I could read it once again with fresh eyes.
I feel like The Bronze Horseman trilogy gets better with every book. I enjoyed Tatiana and Alexander a lot. I loved the flashbacks to Alexander’s childhood; Alexander as a child was hilarious, clever, and full of irony and snark. I also loved seeing how Tatiana builds a life for herself and her son in New York, her struggle of starting over. The historical aspects of this book are beautifully written and incredibly interesting.
The Summer Garden is my favorite book in the trilogy due to it being the most character-driven of the three, dealing with the postwar ordeals and struggles, a distance that grows between people who have been through too much, starting a whole new life, and learning to live it.
I did not enjoy Glass Sword as much as the first book. I think my rating is closer to 2.5-2.75. The first half of the book was outright boring, though the pace did pick up later on. Nothing about this book is particularly good and compelling, and all in all, I was disappointed with the sequel. However, I do think I will continue on with the series, because I did like the first book, so I will wait to make up my mind about the direction the story is taking after the next one.
I. Can’t. Even. I did not expect to like The Winner’s Curse as much as I did, especially because I have not liked most YA fantasy books I have read lately. But this surprised me. It was politically-driven, intriguing, and unputdownable. I loved the characters, because they did not have the usual YA traits that I hate. They are clever, passionate, kind and humane. The affection Kestrel and Arin felt for each other is the most beautiful thing I have ever read about (except Outlander, because nothing can compare to Claire and Jamie’s relationship, though Kestrel and Arin come close) – no insta-love, no unnecessary angst. Just a wonderful, slow-burning thing that you cannot help but root for.
The Winner’s Crime was excruciating in the best possible way. I love schemes and political games, and Marie Rutkoski did them justice. YA books usually have THE WORST miscommunication tropes that make absolutely no sense. The Winner’s Crime succeeded in incorporating miscommunication, lies and secrets in a way that not only made perfect sense, but could not have been done any other way. My heart broke into million pieces and I loved every second of it.
When I received my copy of The Winner’s Kiss, the first thing I did is check how long it was. Oh, so long, 484 pages, yay! And still I read it in one sitting… It’s just that good. The key players play the political game like nobody’s business – they are cunning, intelligent and clever, and always have something hidden up their sleeve. Court intrigues, lies, half-truths, plots and schemes make for a very exciting story, while the romance between the main characters waters down the negative, it being packed with warmth and gentleness, genuine care for each other, beautiful and intimate friendship, ability to read the other person like you’ve known them your whole life, attempts to save each other from hurt and pain by putting aside your own happiness, honor and morale.