Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

16069030The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski
Release date: March 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Goodreads Link

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

My Rating:


Well I'm sure by now you know what this book is about, but basically, Kestrel lives in a world(that we don't know a ton of history about or where really is...) where her people, the Valorians ten or so years ago invaded and took over the Herrani and enslaved them. One day while at the market Kestrel, who is the daughter of the general, ends up buying Arin, a Herrani slave. Of course, not all is perfect in this world and even as feelings spark between Kestral and Arin they're both overly aware of the fact that they come very very different places and have very different futures.

I'm going to try and keep this short, I was kind of worried when I picked this one up because I have heard a lot of mixed things, mostly that it kind of has a big focus on romance and not many people seem to like the ship but um,..I kind of love Kestrel and Arin. I really enjoyed this one for the most part and it kept me interested up until the end. I kind of got bored at the end which is bad because that's when all the action finally starts and what not.

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

- It's refreshing that instead of a main female character who wants to become a fighter but can't because female fighters aren't allowed, we have a female main character who doesn't want to become a fighter being pressured to be one. I loved that. It was kind of confusing though, because women can fight in the military, but they can't walk through the market without an escort...?

- I loved the characters. Kestrel was awesome, she's badass but not in the typical YA fantasy way. She's only a so-so fighter but she's extremely smart when it comes to strategies and she loves music. Arin is also a great character, he was very well developed for a character who only had a few short POV chapters and didn't talk much at all in most of the other chapters. He was sweet and everything but also, he never forgot his duty for his people, and he could be vicious when needed. I completely shipped them, right from the beginning, I'm not what made me ship them I just loved the slow building romance, the kind of frowned upon love. But again, the ending kind of made it weird, I'll explain more down below. Most of the side characters were also great.

- The writing! Sigh. The writing, I loved the writing. It was so fast-paced and flowing and lovely. And I don't know, just great.

A Few Of My Not So Favorite Things:

- One pet peeve I have about this book is that we never really get to see the action. When Kestrel has to duel someone you see the beginning and it skips to afterward. When there's a battle, you see five minutes of it and then it skips to afterward. When someone might die you the thirty seconds where they might be about to die and then it skips to afterwards. I guess it's a case, in this aspect, of telling instead of showing.

- The End: My problem came at the end of this book. So much happened so quickly and I never really felt like Kestrel felt anything for it, almost like it wasn't affecting her at all. It was just such a drastic change from the rest of the book and it was kind of disappointing because it was almost boring. I mean, a lot was going on, but it was kind of just talked about. I didn't FEEL the tension, I didn't FEEL that anything all that important was going on. and I definitely didn't FEEL Kestrel's confusion and conflicting feelings about Arin, the Herrani and her own people. I just feel like I should've felt more at the end while I was kind of just bored.

- World building defiantly wasn't on point. I mean, how much territory have the Valorian's captured? And why? Just because they can? Also, what's with the barbarians??? Not much at all of the world is explained and that's kind of disappointing.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book, if only for the amazing characters and brilliant writing. The ending was definitely disappointing and while I'm excited for the next to find out what happens with Kestrel and Arin, I don't think I'm all the invested in the actual plot and story. Also, I gotta say, even though I haven't read any reviews, purely from this ending and the next ones description, I'm kinda worried about how I'm going to like it. I'm worried, for me, it might suffer second book syndrome.

Would I Recommend This? Yes.
Who To? People.
Will I read more from this author(or series)? Yes!


  1. When I read this, I liked it but I was also expecting so much more. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to read the next book, but then I did and I fell madly in love with it. So it might surprise you. ;) I'm glad you liked this though, and what a great review!

    1. Exactly! It just didn't really feeel like much of anything happened. But I'm glad to hear the second is better rather than worse! ;)

  2. I've been debating on reading this one too! (I actually ow it) I've also heard mixed things. I'm glad that you liked the main characters and their romance. I'm a bit worried about the end now. Telling is one of my pet peeves!

    1. Mine too! It's just the main character is so disconnected from everything happening and why??? But I do think it's worth the read, especially if you already own it. I did ship it after all. =)

  3. This review is 100% everything I thought about this book and never said. You nailed it. I SO agree with the ending- it felt VERY disconnected. I also wasn't keen on the world building, or lack thereof. The battle stuff didn't bug me as much, but I agree it WAS an issue, just not one I cared about ;)

    Now the good news! Every single thing you DIDN'T like about book one? Only a million times improved in book 2. Seriously for me, The Winner's Crime was just exponentially better. Questions were answered, Kestrel was on her game, there were definitely feels, much more action, definitely not a sequel slump! The only thing I did kind of want more of was the romance. But otherwise, it was good! I hope you feel the same :)

    Great review, I could not agree more!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. Haha. Thanks! I mean I kind of understand the battle stuff, especially when it comes to Kestral cause obviously she isn't going to fight or anything but SHOW me something!

      Yay! I'm so happy to hear that! I can definitely sacrifice some romance if it's for a good cause, ie a way better book. =)