Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


29414614._SY475_Title: The Winner’s Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014

synopsis header
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)

Edit: I have now finished this for a second time!

I read it for the first time last January and honestly, it felt like a new reading experience because I had forgotten a lot. I never finished the series so I’m glad I decided to reread this one and then continue with the series.

I am seriously terrible at finishing series…

Anyways, I felt the same and honestly, the heartbreak at the end is just so, ugh! 😢 I’m very excited to start the next one and since I own it, it will be right away.

Old Review:

The Winner’s Curse follows seventeen-year-old Kestrel who as the daughter of a general must decide between joining the military or getting married. When a slave catches her eye at an auction, she quickly falls into uncharted territory as she tries to grasp her feelings. The stakes are high but they only get higher and she must decide how to play game and what she is willing to risk.

Kestrel has a lot to live up to since she is the daughter of a general. She has also grown up surrounded by aristocrats. It is a completely different view from Arin, the slave she has picked up. Throughout the book, Arin’s past comes to light and there is more than meets the eye when it comes to his past and his future. I love that there isn’t an instant romance and there is banter between them and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There is backstabbing, hating, wanting, and everything that comes with a dysfunctional romance. They were characters that I connected with easily from the start and the ending was devastating and I may have shed a tear or two.

The plot is one I have seen before but her writing draws you in and makes it feel unique in its own way. There is action, betrayal, and scandals of sorts. It is hard to put down and I found myself reading through it quickly and thinking about it constantly.

I went into this book expecting to not be impressed and figuring it would be a 3 star read at best, but boy was I wrong! Set in a richly captivating world where scandals thrive and the characters tug at your emotions. This quickly rose to 5 stars and I can’t wait to continue the series!

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

  1. ooh, wow, from 3 stars bumped up to 5! That’s awesome! I have heard good things about this series but–of course–haven’t gotten to it. I own the first book and maybe someday I will get to it. Do you plan on finishing the series this time?


    1. Thank you! I have finished the series now! Haha, it didn’t take long since I was hooked and I did have them both sitting on my shelves. I did like the first book more than the other two but still rated the others as 4.5 stars. I’m sad that it’s over though!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you’re continuing this!! I read this back in 2018 or 2019 I think? And it is honestly one of the best series I’ve read. It’s one of those that I feel gets even BETTER with the succeeding books. Fingers crossed you’ll get to finish this one! 🙂


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