Book 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
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 355
Source: Bought
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
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 Rutkosk
i 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.
I am going to be honest in my review.  I know A LOT of people are going crazy about this book, but honestly, I thought it was just OK.  Don't get me wrong, there are many things I love about it, one of them being Marie's writing.  It is beautifully written.  I felt like I was transported back in time when kings and queens ruled their kingdoms, but then there was a fantasy aspect to the story as well, which made it unique. My issue was that it dragged most of the time.  I know that this is the first installment of the series, and that usually the first book is all about the world building.  I just wish it was a little more fast paced.  

Kestrel is a strong character.  I love the fact that she follows her heart and doesn't allow her father to choose her destiny.  Although he doesn't make it easy for her.  Kestrel meets Arin one day when he is being auctioned as a slave in the market.  For some reason, Kestrel felt this pull towards him and ended up out bidding everyone there.  Not sure how she was going to tell her father she just bought a slave, she decides to have him work out in the stables and since he is a blacksmith, she figured he could be helpful.  What Kestrel doesn't expect is to care for Arin.  And it's because of these feelings that a war starts to brew and a Kestrel will have to make the hardest decision on her life.

Like I said before, The Winner's Curse is a great read, but it just seemed a little slow at times.  I am looking forward to book two to see what happens next, because the ending was sort of a cliffhanger.   


  1. I've read some pretty mixed reviews about this book, and while it's on my TBR list, I'm not in a big hurry to read it. At some point I'll pick it up, but it sounds like it's one of those just 'ok' kind of books.

  2. I just finished reading this. My review posts later today. I definitely wouldn't rave about the book, but there are some things that set it apart. Yes, like you said, the writing style is appealing, but it is that internal conflict that is interesting. I had to keep reminding myself that Arin wasn't doing anything wrong. It felt wrong, but if it were me, my family and friends that were held captive to slavery it certainly wouldn't feel wrong. It was just that I knew more in this book about the relationship and it took me out of my comfort zone.
    -Flirting with Fiction

  3. My goal is to finish this book in the next 4 days. I hope it doesn't drag for me either. Lets hope book 2 is better!

  4. Thanks for the review.This has been on my list for a while, not going to dash out to buy it just yet :)


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