The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
"Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined."- summary from Amazon
I absolutely loved this book by Rutkoski (I keep forgetting it's not her debut, lol); I had heard and seen a lot of hype around it (there's 5 pages of blurbs in the ARC!) and was curious about it. I definitely think it lives up to the hype and I highly recommend it. Rutkoski did a good job going back and forth between Kestrel and Arin, and really making that sexual tension work. They match wits throughout the book and constantly surprise each other; it made the book such a treat to read. There's a lot of action in the book too, especially in the latter half of the book.
Overall, a fantastic start to a new trilogy and I cannot wait to read the next book!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.