Review: The Winner’s Curse

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy #1

355 pages

Finished on June 10th 2016

4.5 stars


“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”

This book was recommended to me by two friends and, although initially I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, due to the slavery aspect, I ended up being pleasantly surprised (thanks Britt and Mila!). This is a story about a girl who buys a slave. A story about forbidden love. But things aren’t simple for our two protagonists, Kestrel and Arin. They both have important roles to play that will force them to set their feelings aside. Or at least try.

Kestrel is a very interesting character. She’s the General’s daughter, a member of high society, and yet she doesn’t let anyone influence her thoughts and her worldview, even if they are different than expected of her. She fights for what she believes is right and for what she wants.

Arin is a rebellious slave. He was cold and detached at first, not letting Kestrel in. He didn’t care about anything but his people, putting their needs even above his own. Or so it seemed.

Their relationship was very interesting. I loved how they bonded over music and games. It wasn’t instant love, which really pleased me. They fought their attraction and admiration for as long as they could, but soon their feelings for each other grew into something stronger. And dangerous.

Despite calling this a story about forbidden love (which I personally love and find much more intriguing than a love triangle), the romance didn’t take up the whole plot. It was actually mesmerizing how both Kestrel and Arin, so new to love, didn’t put their feelings above duty and sometimes even made decisions sure to hurt the other, all for the good of their people. Beside a beautiful love story, Marie Rutkoski gave us the brutally of slavery, war, politics, revenge and above all, the fight for freedom.

The book had dual POV which made the story a lot more interesting, since we could see the plot develop both from Kestrel and Arin’s sides. It was very interesting to see how two completely different lives, one high born, the other born a slave, intertwined. And due to that, we got to know the extremes of the world they live in.

Another thing I loved about this book was the writing, it is simply beautiful. And although the first part of the book is a bit slow paced, the author makes up with a plot twist that immediately sets everything into motion and an ending that will leave you craving for the next book!

“Survival isn’t wrong. You can sell your honor in small ways, so long as you guard yourself. You can pour a glass of wine like it’s meant to be poured, and watch a man drink, and plot your revenge.”

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Winner’s Curse

  1. I’ve been intrigued about this book for a while now but never quite seem convinced enough to pick it up. I think your review has convinced me that bit more, so I’ll be adding it to my TBR at long last. Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad I could help 🙂 The same happened to me until these two friends of mine started talking about it haha. I’ll post non spoilery reviews of the next two books soon if you’re interested 🙂 I’ve seen people say the first book didn’t convince them but the second one definitely did!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll keep an eye out for them! I think the hype for the last book sort of drew me in a bit more, and now that more people are getting into it again, I’m definitely becoming more intrigued 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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