The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is the first in a new fantasy trilogy and tells the story of forbidden love in a rich high-fantasy world filled with war and intriguing questions of morality. The Winner’s Curse is addictive and I highly advise you schedule out some time so that you don’t have to break from reading this one! I’m not even much of a romance fan and I was desperate to find out what Kestrel and Arin would decide to do!
Note: I received The Winner’s Curse from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Published by Farrar, Giroux, Strauss on March 4th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog
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.
- The Winner’s Curse has the kind of writing that you just can’t put down. I actually found myself standing at my kitchen counter reading when I had gotten up just to get a snack. There is something about the quality of Marie’s words that pulls you in and makes you happy to keep reading :).
- The forbidden love element of The Winner’s Curse is really the main plot focus and it is done very well. Kestrel and Arin have to make some tough choices and are really forced to ignore their growing affection for each other for most of the book. I’m excited for the build-up that this trilogy promises!
- While The Winner’s Curse isn’t set in a fantasy world with magic and whimsical critters, the alternate world that Marie Rutkoski has made is really quite awesome. This is the sort of fantasy world that I love even though there aren’t overt magics: subtle differences such as food and the games people play that make it clear this is a very different place. In particular there is a tile game called Bite and Sting that I really want to exist >.>.
- I really liked Kestrel as the heroine of The Winner’s Curse since she is a great example of a female character being strong by playing to her strengths. Kestrel isn’t the greatest fighter, she doesn’t have magic super powers to go kick enemy butts. She is clever and good with strategy and figures out how to use that to her advantage even in situations where strength would be more helpful. Yey for characters with obvious weaknesses as well as strengths!
- There is this huge even that happens 2/3 into the book and then there was a bit of a lull. I couldn’t really tell where things were going to go and everything had been so exciting previously that it felt a bit anticlimactic.
- I loved the world that The Winner’s Curse has introduced us to, but I want to know even more. I feel like Kestrel knows so much about her world since she’s studied geography and cultures and I wish that I could get inside her head a bit more on that. Hopefully the rest of the trilogy helps with this ;-).
- That ending… I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it except that I know it won’t please some readers. I’m also conflicted since I’m pretty sure book two isn’t going to go in the direction I wish it would now. It’ll be interesting to find out though!
The Winner’s Curse is quite an excellent book and the only hangups I had are really just my personal taste. I can see this trilogy developing into another fan favorite and can’t wait to see where things go. If you enjoy a character-driven plot in an alternate medieval world then you should definitely check out The Winner’s Curse!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.