Monday, October 13, 2014

[Book Review] The Winner's Curse

Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's  #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Genre: Young Adult // Romance // Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased (

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 (goodreads).

I know it's only October but I'm going to call it, this is my favorite read of 2014. 

Plot: I read this book over six months ago and I still remember every little detail about this book! The Winner's Curse is a book that stays with you forever (if you're me it does).  The one thing that readers might complain about is the pacing. Marie Rutkoski takes her time building the world and all of the characters, this means main characters and secondary characters. There are times where the story takes a turn from the overall conflict, but the purpose it to build character and show development. There are times when I wondered why there was no action in the book, but I was wrong. You just have to be patient. Marie Rutkoski writes a beautiful story that flows wonderfully with a pseudo-cliffhanger that makes you want to know more immediately!

Characters: You can tell that Rutkoski loves her characters, all of them. She puts so much heart and personality into each character. The Winner's Curse is told through the perspective of Kestrel and Arin who both have very distinct voices and guess what, they function without the other person as well! There is no dependability, there is no instant love, these are two independent characters who have their own conflicts and backgrounds. The love story between these too is a simmer. Kestrel purchases Arin at a slave auction and they pretty much have no interaction with the other for several weeks which is really refreshing (not to mention, probably more realistic). I absolutely adore these two as a couple and what's beautiful is that they each still have to work at their relationship, this book does not end in sunshine and rainbows, which again, is more realistic. 

World Building: A-frickin Plus! I was immersed in this world and could imagine everything vividly. This is in part that the book was told by two people from different social classes. We get to see the world through Kestresl, the warrior's daughter, and Arin, the slave who seems to have lost everything. The book takes place in Kestrel's world, but if you want to know more about Arin's childhood you can read the novella Bridge of Snow for $.99.

Short N Sweet: The Winner's Curse is utter perfection and it's a must for all fans of books. Seriously, go read this, you will not regret it! 


  1. ohmygosh wasn't this book just fabulous? Definitely one of my favourite reads as well of 2014! The first half was so different from the second half, but I loved them both dearly. And wasn't the romance just gorgeous? *squeals*

    Lovely review, Amber! <33

    1. YES, it was everything I wanted and more! I am soo rooting for Arin and Kestrel. I don't know how they'e gonna make it, but they better!


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