The Winner’s Curse Discussion

So hi! Madelyn here on this fine early morning. I have time before classes today to actually be writing this but yea. Quick funny story: I woke up around 8AM and I just rose out of bed like a zombie and my roommate cracked up and immediately handed me some coffee. You know you’re looking dead tired if that happens, haha.

Onwards! And there will be spoilers since I’m discussing what I recently read in this book. Like up to Chapter 19.

I’m reading The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. It’s got the themes of slavery and aristocracy and class morals. Kestrel is our heroine and she basically impulsively buys a slave named Arin at an auction she accidentally ended up at. Like she totally feels like it’s a mistake since she feels bad for buying someone like that. Kestrel is the weird one in her society since she always questions their standards and traditions.

It’s mentioned earlier on in the books that the big fancy houses and villas that the Valorians (Kestrel and friends) live in used to be the homes of the Herrani (the slaves; Arin and friends). Like that’s pretty sad and it shows them how the Valorian colonization worked out to where they literally just moved in and kicked the Herrani out and enslaved them.

What broke my heart last night was when Kestrel went to a party and Arin was her escort. Arin asked her where were they going and she totally thought he knew since he sort of kinda asked to be her escort to the party and he knew who threw the party. So she was like confused and was like, “Um, Lord Irex’s party?”. And Arin kept staring out at the trees then they came in and Kestrel wanted to leave but Arin insisted on seeing the house and then he saw the wide array of weapons displayed and he was like, “Those aren’t supposed to be there.” And Kestrel thought nothing of it. She just explained how Irex likes showboating his mad skills.

Then later on in the party, Arin was caught trying to steal a book and Kestrel found that it was his book. There was an inscription in there from Arin’s parents to him. And it just broke my heart that Irex, this terrible person, was living in Arin’s old home before the conquering. And Arin was a slave who couldn’t keep this old book that his parents dedicated to him.

I even went back to read the scene where they were arriving at the house and it all made sense. How Arin recognized something in the landscape and how he insisted on going in and how he said that the weapons aren’t supposed to be there. It was just so sad. And he couldn’t do anything about it. Someone was living in his old home.

Siigghh. You got me there Rutkoski. I just finished A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir which had slave themes and I’m here reading a book with slave themes and it’s breaking my heart all over again.

Fun fact: I had no idea this book had the theme of slaves in it until I like read the third page. Like I saw on the copyright page where it listed the genres and I saw slavery and I was confused. The summary on the back of the book doesn’t mention Kestrel buying Arin so I was shook and I read it on Goodreads and it all made sense, haha. Got a little surprise. Yay me.

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