Sunday, June 12, 2016

How I (Accidentally) Read The Winner's Trilogy Out of Order and Loved It

It was a three minutes after six o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday. I had my earbuds in, the elliptical was set to hill climb, and my Kindle sat before me. I needed something new to read, having just finished Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was ready to get back to my one true love: fantasy.

So I pulled up a book from a trilogy that had long been on my list, and started reading.

Let me go back even further. Last fall, The Winner's Crime was a $2.99 Kindle deal. I, of course, bought it and proceeded to commend myself for being such a savvy book shopper. I didn't know much about the series, just that everyone who I knew who had read it, loved it.

Actual order of books, not actual order of reading

Fast forward to that fateful day in March when I figured I'd start the trilogy. When I figured past Liz surely had been smart enough to purchase the first book in the series. When, for the first time in my life, I read the second book in a trilogy first.

Here's the thing: I loved The Winner's Crime. Sure, it seemed like a weird place to start a love story, what with the love story having already happened and our characters are now reuniting as SPOILERY THINGS HERE. But I really liked it.

It wasn't until I made it 73% of the way through that I realized I started on the wrong book, and only because people were talking about the series as the third was about to come out. So, as any good reader would do, I finished it. I LOVED it.

Then I proceeded to read the first in the series.

Here's the beautiful thing about entering into a love story where you already know what's going to happen: You fall in love with the characters even more, because you know the outcome and aren't so caught up in the stakes. And man did I fall hard for Kestrel and Arin. This love story guys.

When I finally made it to the third in the trilogy, I discovered something quite beautiful. Marie Rutkoski drew some very strong parallels between The Winner's Curse (book 1) and The Winner's Kiss (book 3), particularly with a story Kestrel's nurse told her as a child and Arin's connection to Death (his god).

I'm a fast reader, and had I read the first book first, I might have missed this connection. Instead, I got to see the story come full circle in such a powerful way. So thank you, Marie, for writing a series that can be started in the middle, and enjoyed just as much—if not more—than if it had been started at the beginning.