Brooke Reviews: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OHMYWORD I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get my hands on this book. But I couldn’t be happier it’s my first read of 2015 – I think it’s a sign of an incredible reading year to come!

Summary: 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.

I LOVE the premise of this book. The protagonist PURCHASES a slave in an auction and then falls for him? I’m sold. (No pun intended). And seriously, this book exceeded expectations.

Kestrel is witty and intelligent. In every scene, every action, every line of dialogue, Kestrel reminds the reader of her sharp personality and resourcefulness. She’s such a refreshing character. She’s a strategist, encouraged to join the military by her father, who she has this interestingly complicated relationship with. I think the best thing about this book is how every possible cliche and stereotype is completely thrown out the window.

The setting is so unique. The world-building is really well done, as there’s absolutely no info-dumping and instead everything the reader needs to know is woven into the story. There’s romance, but there’s no insta-love and plenty of clever banter and tension. Of course, it’s all tied directly to the plot, which is HOW IT SHOULD BE!

And the plot – completely unpredictable! The conflict is anything but black-and-white, and even at the end I struggled to make up my mind about which side to root for – the slaves who’s land and who’s homes were taken by Kestrel’s people, or Kestrel and the Valorians.

So I’m a little behind, but I am jumping on this bandwagon to encourage you to read this book now if you haven’t already. 🙂

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Have you read this book? Fangirl with me!


5 thoughts on “Brooke Reviews: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

    1. brooke Post author

      Agreed – better late than never! And it was so worth it. 🙂 Such a great balance/relationship between the romance and the plot – the romance impacted and complemented the plot, rather than having romance just for the sake of romance. (Although I probably wouldn’t have complained – I’m such a sucker for romance.) <3 Thanks for commenting, Laura!

  1. Taylor Lynn

    I’ve seen so many people rave about this book, and I still haven’t read it yet–but after this review, I think I’m going to need to do so SOON! It sounds like an amazing read–such a unique concept, and I love unpredictable books that defy stereotypes and keep you guessing. I’ve also heard it’s a fairly political novel, as in there’s a massive focus on the politics of Kestrel’s world, which makes me think of the Graceling books (which I loved). In other words, I’m super intrigued to see what I think of The Winner’s Curse–now more than ever!

    Thanks for the recommendation, Brooke–and I’m so glad to hear you kicked off your 2015 reading year with such a fantastic read!

    1. brooke Post author

      Yes, yes, yes – read it soon! It’s just really well done. I struggled writing the review because I wanted to articulate exactly why I loved it. And, like every story, there were little things I could have mentioned but didn’t because they were so insignificant to my feelings about the book as a whole. It was just a really enjoyable reading experience! And YES to your comparison with the Graceling books – totally spot-on! Graceling is one of my absolute favorites, and also one of the only books I’ve ever reread. Funny, too, because I’m really not into politics but both of these books fascinated me. (I guess I don’t mind fictional politics.) Thanks, Taylor! I love swapping recommendations, as I think we have similar taste and I’m always looking for more reading material (as if any of us book-loves NEED more reading material, but that’s just not something we’re particularly concerned about, is it?).

      1. Taylor Lynn

        Haha, I know, right? Not like we need any more books on our to-read lists, but there are just SO MANY that sound SO GOOD, haha. And when they come with a glowing recommendation? Even better!

        And I know, right? Fictional politics can be so interesting, and I really enjoyed the politics in the Graceling books. Plus Kristin Cashore’s writing is gorgeous!


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