From A Winner's Kiss "Author's Note"
"I'm grateful to the following books, among others, for their inspiration and guidance: Edward Said's Orientalism, Saidiya V. Hartman's Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America, Linda Colley's Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600-1850,Herodotus's The Histories, Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Arrian's The Campaigns of Alexander,Jacob de Gheyn's The Renaissance Drill Book, and Bert S. Hall's Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe."
- Marie Rutkoski
After completing "The Winner's Trilogy" and reading "The Author's Note" I can see why Marie Rutkoski's fantasy fiction is so different than all the other fiction I've read, including adult fiction, that involve war and slavery. This is a Young Adult romance too! The trilogy is remarkably researched and inconspicuously integrated into the plot, characters, and setting. It's affective.
The romance between the protagonist doesn't feel like angst. The love between father, daughter, slave, and country justifies each characters' means to an end while twisting the readers insides. They question whether their choices are the suggestions of Gods or the psyche, as the hero's conquered country worships one hundred gods and heroine's country is atheist. "The Winner's Trilogy" has so many exquisite details. It's skillfully written. Read it!