The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse #1)

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Page Length: 355 pages

Rating: 4 Stars

"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."

A group that I moderate on Goodreads, The Wide Web of Friends is going to have a Q&A session with the author of this book! So if you have any questions, ask here

I had high hopes and high expectations. I'm proud to say this book didn't disappoint and left me yearning for the next book. After having read The Winner's Curse, I can honestly say that I have never read anything like it.

I was deeply impressed with the world-building. Everything was explained in detail and at the perfect timing. Rutkoski didn't just dump tons of information on us from the beginning. She slowly worked in all of the necessary information and slowly showed us the setting. She painted the picture beautifully ;)

The plot was unique and fantastic. (I can't really say more without spoiling you though, so just go read!) The writing was phenomenal. There were varied sentences and great word choices. Not everything started with "He was...." or "She went... " There was a sophistication to the writing that I greatly admired. I couldn't stop reading once I'd started. I just had to know what happened next! Rutkoski managed to keep me interested and invested in the plot throughout the book. I didn't like the third person point of view though. It didn't make me connect with any of the characters or their feelings.

I did like the characters though. Kestrel was a great main character. I liked how she's keen and sharp and a great strategist. I also liked that Rutkoski didn't portray her as a kickbutt heroine like so many other YA writers do their protagonists. Not all main characters have to be freaking ninjas to be awesome. Thanks for showing us that there are other kinds of strengths besides the physical, like the mental strength that Kestrel has. Arin was okay. I liked how wild and free he is. He's an enigma and a born leader. I don't know why, I  just don't like him as much as I usually like the protagonist's opposite...

The romance was so cute and adorable. It wasn't insta-love but it did develop a bit too quickly in my opinion. I totally ship Kestrel and Arin though!

I love fantasy novels. It's a current obsession of mine. The Winner's Curse was a great fantasy novel example. The book lost a bit a steam in the middle and became a bit boring. The last third of the book picked up speed again. The whole book was great, but the last third was fantastic. There was action, romance, mystery, betrayal, everything I could possibly want! The ending left me shocked and confused, my jaw hanging open. What. The. Heck. I. Need. The. Next. Book. Now.

~Miss Perfection~


  1. Wonderful review! I loved it. I'll certainly check The Winner's Curse out - You must have enjoyed the book loads. I especially like your point that, though physical strength properly applied is not a bad thing, mental strength is almost more important.

  2. Thanks! I did enjoy the book, I just realized my review was basically just a big gush period... ;)

  3. I so agree with this entire review, especially the world building part. I LOVED the world-building. Great review!

  4. I definitely want to buy this book next. Every single review I've read about says it's awesome!

  5. Gah! I haven't read this book yet, but it's definitely in the TBR pile. I can't wait to read it!

    I nominated you for the Blog Liebster Award

  6. I've read good things about this book so in my TBR pile it goes. ;)

  7. Thanks for the review I'm so pumped to read this it's been my to read list for a while


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