The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Book Review

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiTHE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski Book Review
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy, #1
Publication Date: March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: 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.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Book Review Overview:

  • Intelligent heroine who saves the day
  • Romance develops at a believable pace

After the Herranis were defeated during the Herran War, they were enslaved by the Valorians. The people are forced into servitude while the Valorians live in their homes. Kestrel is the daughter of the Valorian army’s general, and as the general’s daughter she has the choice of following in her father’s footsteps in the army or marrying. One day, Kestrel impulsively buys a slave at auction. Kestrel is drawn to Arin, a defiant young slave. Soon, she finds herself falling in love with him, but Arin has secrets that will turn Kestrel’s world upside down.

What I love most about Kestrel is that she’s not the butt-kicking heroine that we see so often in young adult novels nowadays. Kestrel may not have the athleticism and survival skills like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent, but Kestrel is still a strong female lead in her own way. Kestrel knows that her strengths lie in planning and strategy. Despite her father’s years of experience in the military, Kestrel can draw up a better and more successful battle plan. To me, there’s nothing better than a heroine who uses her brains to save the day.

When I hear star-crossed lovers, I’m always skeptical. But much to my great surprise, THE WINNER’S CURSE delivers. The romance between Kestrel and Arin is real. There’s no instant attraction, no insta-love. The romance develops at a believable pace. Furthermore, the romance is not perfect because they have to overcome not only the barrier between classes, but also the divide between their people. Arin and Kestrel are always questioning their feelings and their loyalties. Because they are on two different sides of a war, the romance is complicated.

The combination of the strong female protagonist and the believable romance makes THE WINNER’S CURSE an enjoyable read from beginning to end.


About the Author

Marie RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Find the Author

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