Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)Title: The Winner's Curse
Author:  Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publishing Date:  March 4th, 2014
Pages: 369
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Series:  The Winner's Trilogy #1
Source:  Audio

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.

This has been on my TBR for a bit and to be honest I wasn't sure I wanted to read it for the longest time. I felt everyone was gushing over it so much that I was afraid I wouldn't be that into it. I can say that I did enjoy this read. I think I would have liked it better with a different narrator. I am not a big Justine Eyre fan and at the time of this book, she was doing a bunch of ya books on audio. So I didn't mind her but I would have liked it better with some one else. I had some issues with the world building and the the pacing. I did however really like the characters and I think I liked the romance for the most part. So this book has lots of potential for a series for me but I did struggle a tad in the beginning. 

The world in which this book exists has two kind of classes... The rich society and the slaves. There really wasn't any in between. Kestrel is the daughter of a general and Arin is a slave. Kestrel is intrigued by Arin and buys him at the auction. She later feels guilty, since she is not approving of slaves. They become friends and more but Arin has a secret. He is a part of the secret rebellion and they want to take their lands back from Kestrel's people.

I found this to be quite an interesting read. It took a while to get off the ground for me. I found the beginning to be slow. There was a ton of building up but the building up didn't seem to have really much of anything of interest. I get that the relationship between Kestrel and Arin was finding it's footing but I felt it was a bit too slow and boring for me. About half way through or a little more the story really took off and I couldn't put it down. So it did pick up but it took a while. 

The characters were great. I loved the complexity and the layers of both of the main characters. Kestrel is for sure who own woman and really wants to make her own  life. She loves music and in her world music has no place. It's made for the slaves to use for entertainment. Kestrel loves to play the piano. This is what made her buy Arin, the auctioneer said he could sing. I felt she was strong, brave, independent, and loyal... which this caused her some issues. She wanted to be loyal to her people and her father but she didn't agree with how they live. She doesn't agree with the rules her society has upon the citizens, but she will play her part because she is loyal. 

Arin is a great character too. He is deceitful but that is because he started out with an agenda... for his people and his freedom. He fell in love with Kestrel and this causes many issues. He is torn between his freedom and his people and Kestrel. 

This book does have some great moments, great action moments, sweet romance moments, and just some though provoking moments. I feel the romance just got started and I am sad I didn't get more of that but hoping maybe in the next book. I hope to see more action too.... more planning and strategy and war. 

As much as I struggled to really get into this book at first, I did end up enjoying it and I am excited to read the next book, but it didn't quite live up to the hype I have seen. Maybe the next book will blow me away. 

Oh and the ending was killer and had me in tears and wow. Yup just wow. 

A great start to what I hope to be an awesome series. 

Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globeand The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


  1. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed it and omg yes this trilogy gets better! the second and third book were AMAZING! I had my issues with book one too but then it picks up pace and I so couldn't put it down!!


  2. I started reading this last month and ending up DNFing it. I honestly couldn't get into the story at all. I may give it another shot later, but for now I'm not really interested anymore.

    ~ Kendra


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