Review: The Winner's Curse


The Winner's Curse
By Marie Rutkoski

Source: Personal purchase, paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopia, Historical

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

I was attempting to say positive things about this book, but I realised that my feelings throughout the entire book were:

This book was definitely a cover buy, and one that - after reading the book - I kind of regret. There were elements I liked, but I feel like the bits I really disliked overshadowed them. My main problem with the book was that it was boring. It felt like nothing happened.

The problem was, for the main part of the book, there was no goal. There wasn’t a journey to get somewhere. Nothing was happening! It made me lose interest in the characters and the plot. The ‘plot twists’ were underwhelming, and there was no tension at all. It was so tame in parts that I actually considered giving up.

My favourite thing about the book was Kestrel. She was really strong-willed and interesting to read about because she was so original. She was clever, cunning and crafty, which is unusual in YA books. At some points, she reminded me of myself greatly.

Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was meant to be the exciting part, but because I’d already lost interest, I didn’t find it exciting at all. At parts it was confusing, and I really had to force myself to finish the book.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy the book. Although it was really well written and had complex characters, I found it dragged and made me lose interest. I probably won’t be picking up the next book, and would recommend it to fans of Red Queen, because they have similar settings, and are both quite tame. Also, if you’re not a massive fan of fantasy but want the slow burning romance, or want to get into the genre, I would recommend this book.

My reaction:

My rating:

Favourite quotes:

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

“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”

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  1. Ooooh! I've been wondering if I'd like this book! The cover is gorgeous for sure and I've always been one to judge a book by its cover (yeah, bad, I know). If there is no goal in the book, it doesn't sound like such a great read. Maybe I'll hold off on it for a while. (: Nice review!

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog

    1. I'm really guilty of judging a book by its cover! Although, I don't think it's a particularly bad thing, because I still buy books if I don't like the cover, I just buy them if I like the cover and don't like the plot!

      I'm sorry for putting you off this book! Though what I said is true - it was a bit dull and didn't have a goal at all. I'd agree with you for holding off with it for a while. Though other people have said it's great, so don't let me be the person who puts you off! Thanks for the comment too :)


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