He told himself a story. Not at first. At first, there wasn’t time for thoughts that came in the shape of words. His head was blessedly empty of stories then. War was coming. It was upon him. Arin had been born in the year of the god of death, and he was finally glad of it. He surrendered himself to his god, who smiled and came close. Stories will get you killed, he murmured in Arin’s ear. Now, you just listen. Listen to me.

BOOKS READ IN 2016: the winner’s kiss by marie rutkoski


Her innocence was maddening. She should know. She should know what her steward had done. She should know it to be her fault whether she’d given the order or not–and whether she knew or not. Innocent? Her? Never.

He did not want her to know. He did not want her to see. But:

Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me. She lifted her eyes, and did.


“Please,” she called softly in his language. 

 The footsteps stopped. Her shackles rattled as she fumbled to get a finger and thumb up her left sleeve. She pinched the moth she had hidden there and pulled it free. She put her hand through the bars. 

 "Take this.“


“Congratulate me. I am to marry the heir to the empire.”
She saw him believe it. She saw betrayal wash across his features, then understanding. She saw his thoughts.
Hadn’t she pulled away from his embrace, escaped across his roof, and nearly drawn a weapon on him?
Who was he, to her?
And Kestrel liked to win. Wasn’t the someday role of empress a tempting stake? Power might persuade where Ronan hadn’t.

- The Winner’s Curse, Marie Rutkoski