[Review] The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Fry's Reviews, Reviews 5 Comments 9th July, 2014

[Review] The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 4th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 355
Source: Purchase
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.

This was one of those highly praised releases that ended up being just so-so. It’s unfortunate, because after watching all of the hype and looking at the gorgeous cover and the unique ARC packaging, I just felt left down. A lot of the book was petty interactions between the main character and everyone else. For what the plot encompasses, the story itself could have been condensed to half. Less catty, more action.

Kestrel, the main character, purchases a slave at an auction despite not actually caring about owning a slave. The slave in question, Arin, is actually a plant for the revolution, a not super subtle or clever sort of spy. Still, the plot follows the course set, and the following coup is pretty much the end of the book. In order to see what happens after, I’ll have to wait for the next installment.

Kestral is a lively girl with her own set of principals, that seem to waffle about for the sake of the plot. Her dad is overbearing. Her friends are kind and sweet but rather vapid and I couldn’t care less about their demises. Arin was the archetype of indignity and the other characters interacting with him were also more ideas, concepts and catalysts than characters.

Overall, I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t find it the sweeping, all immersing tale that the hype would have led me to believe it was.

Written by Fry


Probably in a dungeon somewhere. Game Master for the D’n’D actual play podcast Roll For Wenches .

5 Responses to “[Review] The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski”

  1. Veronika

    I’m sad you didn’t like it more. I loved this book even if the plot was a bit slow it worked for me and I loved the heroine but I feel like we couldn’t really get to know Arin, he had his own POV and I liked him but I’m far from loving him. Nice review. 🙂

    • Fry

      Yeah, Arin was far more an archetype than an actual character. I didn’t really get the FEEL of him. I may still pick up the next one, just to see if the story picks up the pace and the characterization fleshes out more.

  2. Ann

    Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy The Winner’s Curse as much as I did. A few months back I was lucky enough to win a copy from your blog and I ABSOLUTELY ADORED it! Just wanted to say Thank You once again! =D

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