23 Jan 2015

REVIEW: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy.
Publication Date: July 3rd 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Rating: 5/5



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.


I don’t think there are enough words in this world to describe this book. I’m sure if you’ve read this that you understand what I mean, but if you haven’t, I’m going to try and explain what this is.

I’m not going to lie, this was a total cover buy for me. The premise sounded interesting, but it was truly the cover that made me pick this up. Then the reviews from my friends’ started rolling in and I was suddenly terrified of this book – everyone seemed to love it but everyone talked about the FEELS. You know what it’s like, there’s this book that you seem to be the last person on Earth to read but whenever it’s bought up everyone just loses their shit. There’s sobbing gifs and ‘HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?’ being screamed over the internet, and then suddenly your heart fills with dread because you know you aren’t ready for that pain. That was The Winner’s Curse for me.

If you haven’t read this already, well I’m about to become one of those fangirls, just a warning! For the first couple of pages I wasn’t enthralled with the story and I thought that maybe, this would turn out to be one of those books that I just didn’t get. Oh, how na├»ve I was! Somehow, I managed to go from that to being up to page 80…I don’t really know how that happened.


This world is just…gah. It’s so interesting and intricate, and there’s the sense that we aren’t being told the whole story here. Obviously, the main character – Kestrel, lives a pretty sheltered life as the daughter of the general so we learn new things about the world as she does. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I think Kestrel has almost reached the level of Celaena Sardothien as to my love for her. She’s a strong female character but she has her weaknesses and her faults too, and she just…well, she tore my heart apart. But yes, the world is wonderful and I can’t wait to see where it’ll go in the sequel because I have a feeling that shit is going to hit the fan…again.

I don’t really know how I feel about Arin. There were moments I really liked him, but there were moments that I felt betrayed. I do want to wrap him in a blanket and cuddle him though, and Kestrel too. I’ll make everything better, I promise! But really, guys, that ending broke my heart. People who haven’t read this and have read a few reviews of this are probably sick of hearing that, but really…my heart…it’s in pieces.

If you haven’t read this, just do it already. You won’t regret it. Okay, so you kind of will at the end when your heart is smashed into millions of pieces, but then you’ll look back at the amazingness of the whole book and you’ll feel better. Honestly, read it.