Friday, March 21, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski


The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

5 billion stars!

First in The Winner’s Trilogy

Kestrel is the general’s daughter. She is Valorian. Valorians thrive on war and they enslave whatever they conquer. The Herrani are the enslaved. Kestrel wonders into a slave auction and finds a slave who refuses to slave. He sparks her interest and she buys him. Arin is not all what he seems and as Kestrel becomes ensnared with feelings she isn’t sure of she feels the sting of betrayal and the approaching war.

I LOVE The Winner’s Curse. I was lucky enough to win an ARC from Summer (Thank you!) and I was so excited to start it. I was also a little hesitant. The reviews for this book are glowing and I’ve been wanting this book since I read Steph’s review. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed! I’m not a reader of fantasy. I don’t get along with fantasy very well and I usually trudge through them. This is one fantasy novel that made me fall in love with brutal aspects of the people, country, politics, and life the people faced. I enjoyed this tale so very much. It’s been a while since I gobbled up a book like I did The Winner’s Curse. I read over 180 pages in a day. I haven’t done that in a while because I’m always so busy, but I started reading this book when I was a little ways in and then I couldn’t put it down. After I read everything so quickly I eased up because I didn’t want this book to end! It’s perfect and beautiful. My breath was literally taken away by some of the scenes. I haven’t had that happen in a while. I mean, yes, I read books in series that I love that take my breath away. I mean a new series to love that has captivated me in a way that trilogies always set out to do and ultimately fail or thrive.

The main female character is Kestrel. Kestrel is badass. I love her. She is brave, cunning, and flawed. She knows she does horrible things but she does them because she has to. I love her. If I had to choose to be a character in a book I would want to be Kestrel. I have also never appreciated music written a book so much. The way Kestrel was dedicated to music and her piano made me love this book. She has a hobby, a talent that she can’t live without. Her piano is just as much a part of her as her heart is. And I loved that. I also loved her romance with Arin (more on that in the next paragraph).

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 10

The main male character is Arin. Arin is perfect. He does horrible things but I understand why. He’s Herrani and he’s tired of being considered the savages ones even though the Valorians were once the savage. He wants freedom. I understand that. I love him all the more for it. He still did all what he did knowing that it could make Kestrel hate him and I think that’s true love. Arin’s love for Kestrel was real and when he said, “My soul is yours. You know it is.” I lost it. He is a truly swoon worthy character. He is the man that authors should try to write about. He does things because he has to not because he wants to. He is just as brave as Kestrel. He is also a singer. He understands Kestrel’s love for music. I love Arin and he is the kind of “prince” I would want to meet. (Arin isn’t a prince, but I’m using prince in the romantic sense not literal.)

Swoon Worthy Scale: 
My scale is broken...

The Villain- Who really is the villain in this novel? That’s what I love about The Winner’s Curse. There is no specific villain. It all depends whether you’re a Valorian or Herrani who you see as the villain and I love that. It was a true war and it was done beautifully.

Villain Scale: 10

I love all the characters in this book even the ones I grew to hate. *cough cough* Cheat *cough cough* I loved Kestrel’s friendship with Jess. It was real and beautiful and true. I loved Kestrel’s relationship with Enai. It was one of my favorites in this book. It was very complex but also simple. I enjoyed every character presented even the ones I hated.

Character Scale: 10
I’ve never been so blown away by a fantasy novel and I don’t know if I will be again, but The Winner’s Curse was beautiful and I recommend this to everyone! It has love, passion, friendship, fighting, bravery, betrayal, dancing, music, and everything you want in a book. I can’t wait for the sequels. I NEED THEM!

Cover Thoughts: This is one of my favorite covers ever! I adore the dress and the Valorian knife. I even love the braids in her hair that I’m going to pretend were done by Arin.


  1. GAHH I'M SO GLAD YOU LOVED THIS! I feel like no matter what kind of genre you prefer, The Winner's Curse would appeal to everyone; it has romance, action, fantasy, a historical fiction sort of feel, and even some bits of dystopia. I'm cracking up at "I even love the braids in her hair that I’m going to pretend were done by Arin" *swooon*

    1. Thank you so much for sending me a copy of this book! I totally agree. It's an amazing book with elements of everything thrown in. Lol Arin is just is perf.