Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


Title: The Winner’s Curse
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date: March 4th, 2014
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased


Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.



You wanna know what my “problem” is when it comes to books?
I read a premise.
I see the bautiful cover.
I interpret the premise in my own way so it would match the cover and it often ends up being a whole another story then the one I created in my head.

That’s what happened with this book.
I don’t mind it, though!

Going into this novel, I expected a love story between the slave and his mistress, that was taking place in the fantasy world.

In this case, thank God I was wrong, because that kind of version would be cheesy and probably boring to death.

Instead, I got to read an amazing story about the differences between two tribes, the war that happened in the past that got one tribe enslaved, and about the war in which people have a goal to take what once was theirs.

Somewhere in between all of that, the forbidden love was born.

The story is written in third person and it mainly follows two perspectives: Kestrel’s and Arin’s.

Kestrel is a seventeen years old girl from the Valorian tribe.
Her father wants for her to become a warrior, but she has something else on her mind.
She wants to be girly, to play piano she so much enjoys to play and, one day, to become someone’s wife.

Arin is a slave Kestrel has bought on an auction.
He is angry at the world, and he has a good reason to be angry. He hates what Valorians did to his people, he hates how they took their homes and enslaved them.
He wants revange.

Reading this book was an unique experiance.
I didn’t know who’s side to take, had no idea whether I should root for the love or to root for it to dissapear.
I felt like both sides were right but at the same time, like they were also wrong.

After losing some micropieces of my mind over it, I simply decided to just read and watch what will happen’ without taking anyone’s side.
And it was the best decision to take because it spared some nerves I would lose otherwise.

This book was really good, so much better then I expected it would be.

There is only one thing I think that should be stressed out more when it comes to this novel: even though you can find it in children’s or ya section, it has some scenes with heavy violence in it.
I think it would be fair for readers to know what they are getting when deciding to read this book.


14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski”

  1. I agree with you about being drawn in by the lovely covers in this series. This is a series that I have not yet read, but it has been on my TBR list for some time. I am hoping to knock out this series before the end of the year. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You read this book, right?
      Because what I’m goonna write is a spoiler.

      It’s been a while since I read this book, so I don’t remember all the names, but, you know when that guy from Valorian tribe challenges Kestrel forfight, in which one should die. I had problem with that tradition in Valorian tribe. It makes no sense to me that two people from the same tribe would finght eachother to death and lose one good warrior that would need them in a war to come.

      The book is also too violent to be labeled as ya (especially 12+), in my opinion.

      But is is a good book and overall I give 4,5 and 5 stars ratings rarely.
      I rated The Winner’s Crime 4,5 stars.

      You just reminded me I still have Winner’s Kiss to read. I’ll try to read it before the year is over. Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I read the whole series. Yeah, I don’t like that rule about fighting to the death either. But they did mentioned whoever shed the first blood loses and first blood can be a deep scratch. But then, everybody has pride and I think they would fight to save face. I think YA books try to bend the rules as far as they could go with violence & romance. Is it 12 to 18? So they would want to cater to 18 I guess.. It’s still a really good read. I love the read. 😊


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