book review

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse

Title: The Winner’s Curse16069030

Author: Marie Rutkoski

My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads. Book Depository. 

This book was fast paced, fun and interesting and good start to a series. I’m keen to see where it goes!


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.

The Good:

I had no idea what to expect with this book but I enjoyed it! It was fun look into a new fantasy world with new characters and a lot of great plot devices.

I really loved the two main characters. I loved that Kestrel was not just this princess character or completely violent. She had a lot of character which was really good. She defended her friends, was clever and just amazing. I love seeing multifaceted characters. I also loved Arin and how he was an interesting character. I find him really attractive and just want him and Kestrel to be happy! With all the twists and turns I loved that they didn’t just fall together and there was this friendship between them which is just fantastic.

I also didn’t see the storyline coming which I really appreciate. The revolutions, the war history, the music, the people. Some of the interactions with the characters were great. The ending was really strong and sets up a great outline for the next book which I am looking forward to reading!

Also, the writing is really wonderful, I love some of the quotes in it which are so lyrical and gorgeous.

The Bad:

This book took a while to grab me. Maybe it was the fact that the slave-mistress relationship felt weird at the beginning or Kestrel’s military father but I was uncertain for the first half of the book. I’m really glad I continued though as it made up for it.

The Interesting:

I thought the history of the land was really interesting and really really loved the ending. It was unpredictable and unexpected.

Recommended for: Young Adult Fantasy lovers would enjoy this book!

Quotes (Spoiler Free):

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”

“Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”

“You might not think of me as your friend,’ Kestrel told Arin, ‘but I think of you as mine.”

“The Winner’s Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price.”

“She saw, yet again, that her friend’s compliments were just bits of art and artifice. They were paper swans, cunningly folded so that they could float on the air for a few moments. Nothing more.”

Buy it here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

xx Maddy



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