Winner's Curse and The Kiss of Deception

I recently read a couple of books that were very much what I like to choose for myself.  Both are the start of a series and high fantasy. World building happens naturally in both stories, adding to the books rather than taking center stage, which is lovely.  Both feature strong heroines, who want to make their own decisions in world where that is not the norm.  Both had a love triangle of sorts, The girl made up her mind fairly easily, so that angst isn’t too overwhelming for either novel.  Many adventures await us as the series continue.  Now I just have to wait.  

Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski    

Kestral is her father’s daughter and can see things other people miss, She’s perceptive and an
excellent strategist, so when she realizes she’ s been played the sting is especially sharp.  There are many worthy opponents in this story.  Politics, slavery, romance, owning your own destiny are just parts of a larger narrative that captivated me from the beginning.  

I definitely want to see this one the Gateway list.  I can think of several of my students who will love it.  I don’t think most boys would read it just because of the pretty dress on the cover, but if they could get past that, I think they might like it, as Kestral is not super girly.  

Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1
by Mary E. Pearson      

The set up for Kiss begins with a bit of mystery because there are chapters with unnamed characters narrating.  They are just labeled “Prince” and “Assassin,” with us finding out later who is who. I had figured it out, so it wasn’t too hard.  Lia has decided that she doesn't want to marry a prince who would let his "papa arrange a marriage without even showing up." So she runs away before the wedding. The political ramifications were downplayed in this novel, even with Lia being a princess.  She is not interested in doing her duty,and she is feeling pretty selfish.  She quickly gets beyond that, though, so it wasn’t a problem that bothered me.  I liked how she was willing to put aside her princess personae and be a normal person.

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