The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book Review

Posted March 12, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book ReviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on March 4, 2014
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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4 Stars

In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I read The Winner’s Curse MONTHS ago. I’m not kidding. Almost 5 months ago, actually. And I have been mulling this book over in the back of my mind ever since. And I am so distraught, because during all these months of mulling I still have no idea what to write. None. I’m hoping that things will come to me as I write now, and that hopefully I will have some sort of epiphany. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did not dislike this book. I loved it! And that’s why I’m so perplexed as to why I can’t figure out what to say about it. Normally if I love a book I go crazy and fangirlie and have SO much to say that I can’t organize it and end up feeling like a babbling idiot. This time, though, I’m experiencing something completely different. I loved it, yet I have no idea how to tell you why. I’m going to try here, and I’m going to let things flow. No numbered and bolded lists this time! This is going to be a complete brain dump.

  • I love the idea of a girl saving a boy for once. Kestrel purchases Arin, a slave, at an auction. And she does it because he is musical. What a unique way to begin a story.
  • Things started out really slow for me. I was honestly terrified that I was missing something because I was seeing all these raving reviews, and I was just not on board at all. Things change, though, and as I read more I became entranced.
  • I love that Kestrel is smart. She has so much power within her mind, which makes her strong in a way that is not usually written about. She is strong mentally instead of physically.
  • Arin is swoony in a very understated and mysterious way. He observes and watches from the sidelines. I love that about him. He is also very intelligent, and challenges Kestrel. I love the tension this creates.
  • I know that there is some romance that is just barely beginning to bloom. There’s no instalove, but there is definite interest. Kestrel and Arin watch each other. They are figuring each other out. And when they start to realize that they are being discovered by one other, the intrigue grows. I just get this feeling that neither of them is used to being at the forefront of someone’s mind. They are both quiet and broody and smart. They are so good for each other, even though society views them are being very far apart.
  • I’m not usually a fan of politics, but they worked for me here.
  • The writing is very pretty. The story is beautifully told.
  • I cannot WAIT to learn more about these characters. I am hoping for lots of details in the next two books, because I want to become even more invested in their lives.

Wow. I think this review is full of fail. Haha! I have never had such a hard time getting my thoughts out. I just know I loved this book, and I guess that will have to be good enough. I just loved it, ok!?!?!

Anyone want to help me out here? What did you think of The Winner’s Curse? And please help me feel better by telling me I am not the only person who has loved a book just because they loved it!! Has this happened to you before?

4 Stars
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8 responses to “The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book Review

  1. I’ve heard such mixed reviews (and extreme hype) about this book, that it’s exciting to hear from someone who loved it so much. I want to get my hands on this as soon as possible just so I can form my own opinion on it. Plus, the cover is gorgeous on top of everything else. :P
    Ashley @ Ok, Let’s Read recently posted…Wreck It Wednesdays || Week 5

  2. I have been intrigued by this book since I first heard of it, but I will admit that with all the hype I’ve been a bit scared to try it. I also can’t find it at my library so I need to decide if I want to wait or just purchase it, and again, I am afraid to buy a book just on a whim like that. I think I might check it out though, because in my personal experience, if you can’t even find words to review a book because you liked it that much, it’s definitely a good one.

    Thanks for reviewing =)
    Amanda recently posted…ARC review- Expiration Day

  3. Kel

    No need to feel bad. Sometimes the books I enjoy the most are the ones I have the hardest time writing about. It’s easy to critique a book to death and have a giant essay to show for it, but when I genuinely enjoyed it and wasn’t bugged by much? Yep, no words.

    I haven’t read The Winner’s Curse yet. It sounds like it may have a little too much romance/politics in it for my taste, but I may give it a try. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
    Kel recently posted…The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (3 stars)

  4. Girl, I am totally with you! I just wrote my review recently and I was totally in awe when I finished but I realized that the middle and the end totally knocked me off my feet but I also felt like things were fairly slow in the beginning. It wasn’t a SLOW beginning but I felt like we could have been given a little bit more action or development or history here and there. I ended up really enjoying it but I don’t think it was QUITE a “love” book for me. HOWEVER. I feel like I will definitely need book two ASAP because the whole ending was incredible!
    Brittany @ the Book Addict’s Guide recently posted…Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. Schwab