Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: The Winners Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winners Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Pages: 369
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Amazon (Only $3.38 on kindle at the moment)
Release date: 10th April 2014

Synopsis. (Goodreads): 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.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I was quite hesitant about reading The Winners Curse, fantasy is either hit or miss for me and the hype for this book was overwhelming when it was first released but I’m pleased to say that I found myself enjoying it.

Seventeen year-old Kestrel is the General’s daughter and needs to decide if she want to join the military or get married to an elite Valorian; she prefers to make music and doesn’t wish to conform to the rules much to her father’s dismay.  On a whim at an auction Kestrel purchases a Herrani slave at a ridiculous price, she’s intrigued by this stranger and eager to learn more.

Characters: Our MC was wonderfully developed! Kestrel was a strategist not a fighter, I enjoyed her passion and eagerness; she wasn’t without her faults but I really liked her, Arin was mysterious and I came to truly appreciate the moments he would spend with Kestrel, there was bitterness in his persona and as the story progressed we come to find out why.

Plot: I found the first part of the book extremely slow, we have a small inkling that something is going down but the what was a mystery - the plotting and scheming had me curious so I was eager to see how it would all unfold.

We do get a sweet forbidden romance, my favourite type. The conflicting cultures were intriguing as was the slavery aspect; the Valorians took over the lands and conquered the Herrani many years ago.

What a liked:

*Marie Rutkoski detailed imagery
*The romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story, I liked the forbidden aspect.
*The stunning cover
*Enjoyable, detailed world-building, the build-up was quite exciting and after the ending we were left with the next book has been set-up perfectly.

What I didn’t like:

* Some parts were slow and my interest was starting to taper off before something exciting would happen again.
* It lacked tension and frequent action sequences I tend to find myself enjoying
* That shocker of an ending! I neeeeed a HEA in my books and the outcome was not what I was expecting.
*Arin’s lack of a back-story.

Overall, The Winners Curse is a nice start to the series, I  look forward to reading the next book in the Winner's Trilogy.


Marie RutkoskiAbout the author: Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014. 

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


  1. I try to ignore the hype around books, because they never turn out to be as good as advertised, and I find that it's a good way to avoid being too disappointed. I like that the romance was subtle, and I do enjoy an author that can seamlessly incorporate imagery into their writing. Pacing problems, and lack of tension are definite cons though; I'm torn...

  2. Isn't hype the worst? You always have such high expectations then....nothing.

    I really liked The winners curse but I agree that the first half lagged a bit. I can't wait to find out more about Arin! <3

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  3. This is exactly why I haven't read this yet. Fantasy is already a tough genre for me. I can't handle slow books. I wanted to try the audio but I hate the narrator. Sorry you didn't love this :)

  4. Oh man, I feel better after reading your review Sharon..I listened to this on audio and just stopped listening. To be honest I was bored.

  5. I'm glad you liked this overall. I did too, but I definitely had problems. If you want some additional background on Arin, you could check out the prequel, Bridge of Snow. It's only a few pages long, and it's available for free on


Thank-you so much for stopping by today!

I love to receive your comments, please leave your blog link & I'll be sure to stop by.

I also respond to your comment here on my blog :)