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review 2018-01-21 03:14
Book Review: The Winner's Curse
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

Book: The Winner's Curse


Author: Marie Rutkoski


Genre: Teen/Romance/Adventure


Summary: Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: to join the military or to get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel's real passion is music. Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave sold as a singer, at auction. It's not long before he begins to change the way she sees everything . . . but he himself is not what he seems. Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined. The first novel in a brilliant new series,
The Winner's Curse tells of the star-crossed romance of Kestrel and Arin. It is a story of masters and slaves, spies, rebellion, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake. The gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. -Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014.


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text 2016-08-15 10:38
Holiday wrap-up
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski
The 100 - Kass Morgan

I'm back from Spain where I spent one week with my family. It was short, but great. I finished The Winner's Curse, which was good but not as great as I thought it would be. Then I read The 100 and I adored it, I can't wait to read the next book and watch the TV show. And I'm currently reading The Archived which is really strange but so good right now! I'm almost done with it.


I had no time to write reviews on holiday, and I don't want to write them now. I have my last exam this week as well as a job interview. Here are my ratings:


- The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski 3/5

- The 100 by Kass Morgan 4/5


I hope you're all having a great summer! As far as I'm concerned, it was really lazy and now it's time to work. 


Thanks for reading,



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review 2016-07-27 02:09
Review: The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

Initial reaction: Consider me very surprised. I really enjoyed this book, and I wasn't expecting to at all. Thinking somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. I'm definitely reading the rest of this series.

Full review:

What a rollercoaster ride of a read this was. I'll admit I had my reservations about beginning this series, but in the end, it was a strong beginning to what ended up being a interesting story (though with flaws, as I'll discuss soon). Part of the reason why I enjoyed this read as much as I did was Justine Eyre's excellent audio narration. She nailed the performance and brought out the writing and emotion in a way that held my attention throughout the novel. Inspired by Antiquity and taken from the Greco-Roman period, "The Winner's Curse" novel is a fantasy that notes the conflict between two parties: the Valorians and the Herrani. The novel begins when Kestrel, the high ranking daughter of a General in the Valorian army, purchases a Herrani slave, Arin, in market on a whim - though she reasons he'll be useful to her household because of his blacksmithing skills. She's also intrigued by his purported musical ability, as she has a heart for music rather than following in her father's footsteps as a soldier.

Arin is a man who's lost his family in the tides of conflict, not so subtly working behind the scenes to aid in an uprising to which Kestrel is naive to. She lets him do as he pleases in places because she's intrigued by him, and the two end up having an unlikely connection that becomes more complicated as the conflicts build behind the scenes. I'll admit that it took a while for the momentum of the novel to hit the ground running, but it was the strength of the audio version and the way the writing wove the two narratives together that held my attention throughout. I expected to have qualms about the portrayal of slavery in this book, but I felt like the conflict was done in a way that was realistic - the betrayals hitting home and the onset of a bitter war a real reality with heavy costs looming in the backdrop until it broke open with subsequent events. The uprising at the ball somewhat reminded me of a scene from the anime/manga Rose of Versailles that I saw a long time ago. Injustices are present, but it still feels like it doesn't quite go as deep as it could go for those conflicts.

I'll admit that while this is strongly sold as a romance (and the focal points of the book definitely confirm that) - I'll admit I was intrigued primarily by the interactions between characters and the layers upon which they made their decisions. Rutkoski does a great job of shaping Kestrel and Arin's loyalties to the people around them, while at the same time building the conflict of their relationship to each other and the division between their societies. I almost wish the book had delved into that more and developed it to where the world was more vivid (though it proves to be functional for the story presented).

There were some scenes where Kestrel's naivete grated on me in the beginning of the story, but I felt she did have points of growth as the story moved forward, same with Arin. It's difficult to say because as a whole - "The Winner's Curse" is an intriguing story that doesn't quite go as deep as it could go - and that's what disappoints me to some degree in reflecting upon it. I like the intrigue, I like the backdrop, but it feels like it has a hesitant finger lingering over the button to lend to something bigger. The novel builds to a pulse point conclusion, and I'm intrigued to see where the overarching series goes from here on out.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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review 2015-08-03 01:32
The Winner's Curse Book Review
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

This is one of those books you will either love or hate. And as you can see by my five star review I absolutely loved it. The word building is beautiful and the protagonist is pretty kick ass. I loved the slow build of things and was never bored. 


Kestrel, the daughter of the leader of the Valorian has two choices, be married in three years when she turns twenty or become a soldier. She wants neither. When she purchases a Herrani slave at the auction everything changes for her. Except that her father still wants the same thing. 


I haven't read a really great fantasy like this in while. The romance in it is wonderful too, as well as drawn out. I can't wait to see how the next one goes and I really hope I'm not disappointed because The Winner's Curse was just so much fun to read. 



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review 2015-07-14 18:06
The Winners Curse Review
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

Goodreads Synopsis:


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 had heard a lot of hype about this book before I started it with the general consensus being you either loved it or you didn't so I was quite apprehensive going into it.


I didn't love this book nor did I not like it, I enjoyed it but the story didn't spark anything in me. I know it's a trilogy so the author was in no rush telling the story but I did think this book was kind of slow as for most of it nothing happened. This is probably due to the political aspect of the story which we were only getting introduced to but I thought it needed a bit more action or drama to keep the reader interested. This book however is in no way predictable as the ending went in a completely different direction to what I expected.


Overall it was an enjoyable read. I am going to read the rest of the trilogy as I'm intrigued to see what happens next and I'm hoping we get to learn more about Arin and his past :)


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