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March 12, 2014

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1)
Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski

Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult (Historical Fantasy)
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC
Pages: 355
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

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.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
The Winner’s Curse is one of the most hyped books for this winter of 2014. I am pretty sure every single book blogger and book tuber has heard about this book, read it, or already pre-ordered it (and received it!). Initially it took me a while to get to a place where I started to enjoy The Winner's Curse. The 3rd POV writing isn't my favorite way of storytelling and I initially actually thought there was a third person in the scene. However Once I got used to it and all the characters were introduced and we got a bit of background history on the world, I stated to really enjoy it. 
This is about a territory that was invaded by the Volarians that resulted in the enslavement of the Herrani people. Kestrel, the daughter of the General Trajan, has to make a decision soon, whether to join the army or get married. She has a knack for strategizing and her father has tried multiple times to recruit her to the army but she wants neither. She wants to choose her own future. This is when she meets Arin, a slave she buys on a whim and takes back to her father's home. If you are expecting a typical predictable romance then you'll be pleasantly surprised. This is more than the romance and I loved that about this book. 
Kestrel is such a strong character and she is a smart one too. Also, the incorporation of music into the novel brought something unique and delicate to a novel that would otherwise be a bit dark and depressing, which book wouldn't with the topic of slavery and non existent women rights? I have read one book by Rutkoski before and it didn't blow me away or capture my attention the whole time, this however did just that. I wanted to know what would happen next. None of my predictions were correct and this is something that I loved. I am tired of predictable novels and even ones that have a "shocking twist" when in fact it was a twist that was obvious. Also, the ending? wow.. it blew me away. I seriously need the second book immediately! I have no idea what direction Rutkoski is taking with the next novel but I am excited to dive back into this complex and fascinating  world she has created. 


  1. " Also, the ending? wow.. it blew me away. I seriously need the second book immediately!" -- Agreed! I'm very curious to see how the next book will go, especially after that ending.

    Great review! Glad you also enjoyed this one :)

  2. I wanted to read this book so bad! You're so lucky to get an ARC.

  3. I like that the romance isn't the traditional YA love story. I can't wait to read this one since everyone as you already said is raving about it or reading it.

    Thanks for the great review!

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well :D I really, really loved it. <3 And I'm so dying for book two. Sigh. Hoping it will be even better :)