Selective Collective, Young Adult

Selective Collective: Fantastical Fantasy Worlds



This month The Selective Collective read The Winner’s Cures by Marie Rutkoski

winners curse

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. – From Goodreads

My favorite genre is fantasy. It’s no big secret and if there is a fantasy in sight, I will read it. That’s why I was SO excited that we were able to feature The Winner’s Curse for Selective Collective!

One thing I love about fantasy is the world building. Sure, they may sometimes be based off of real areas in our world, but for the most part are completely imagined by the author. I like to think about what went into making the world, how the author decided where different areas would lie in relation to one another, what the topography of that area would be, etc. It’s an overwhelming and fascinating process to me!

The world that Kestrel and Arin live in is a fantasy world, but it’s not one that we often get to see in fantasy books. Most fantasies include some form of fantastical element, whether it be magic, magical people, or mythological creatures. The Winner’s Curse contains none of these elements yet retains that something special that I feel fantasy books have.

There are a lot of fantasy worlds that are really dear to my heart:

Narnia – Okay, this one is NOTHING like the world in The Winner’s Curse, but you have to admit this is one of the best worlds from our (and many many others’) childhood. Who didn’t want to go through the wardrobe and have exciting adventures?

Monsea (Graceling) – This is a very standard fantasy world (ie gorgeous) but when you back up and think about it, it’s a very intricately built world. It’s only one of seven kingdoms; so not only did Kristin Cashore have to “invent” Monsea, she had to give it six neighbors.

Tildor (The Cadet of Tildor) – I’ll admit, if you take away the magic here, Tildor reminds me a good bit of the world Kestrel lives in. Mostly because of the military, but we do get to see a glimpse of the upper class. I think it’s the descriptions that got to me here – the way the institute was set up, the land they traveled through, the way the town was set-up. These elements made Tildor come alive for me.

Thisby (The Scorpio Races) – Thisby is one of those fantasy worlds that doesn’t feel fantastical. In fact, it feels like a small town in Ireland. Which, makes it one of my favorites. Steifvater’s Thisby was so easy to imagine and picture that I felt like I was a true visitor there. From the town area to Puck’s house to the shores where the water horses come to shore. Beautiful!

So what did you think of the world building in The Winner’s Curse? Any favorite fantasy worlds you want to share?

Check out the other members of the Selective Collective and see what fun things they have going on!

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5 thoughts on “Selective Collective: Fantastical Fantasy Worlds”

  1. The Scorpio Races, definitely. I’m also really loving the world of Fire and Thorns. Oh, and Finnikin of the Rock and The Thief, for sure! Great discussion – it’s easy to forget about the topography sometimes because you’re just so immersed in everything, but it’s always one of the most fascinating aspects to me if done right.

    I haven’t read The Winner’s Curse yet, but hopefully soon. Glad you loved it!


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