YA Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Age Range: 12 – 18 years
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: Winner’s Trilogy (Book 1)
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 4, 2014)

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Library

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
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

My Thoughts:

This book was everything I hoped for, yet nothing I expected. I loved
it. It was beautiful. None of the characters are who they seem to be.
Everyone has secrets. The author set up an beautifully imagined world
where battles are fought not only with blood and steel, but with
strategy and wit.

The characters are flawed and wonderful. They have history and depth. I
loved Kestrel and the fact that she loved the things she shouldn’t, and
cringed away from the things she should have embraced. Arin was
strong, but he had weaknesses too. The things that made him weak were
the same things that endeared him to me.

If you are looking for a good fantasy to seek your teeth into give this
book a try. It’s one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. I’m
already looking forward to the next book.

Content: Violence and kissing, but it’s a pretty clean book.


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  • Reply
    Born Bookish
    April 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    So glad you enjoyed this one!! It has been one of my favorite reads of the year as well =) Kestrel was an amazing protagonist, I loved how smart and strategic she was.

    • Reply
      April 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Definitely in my top reads for the year! I've only read a couple of good YA books this year, and The Winner's Curse is one of them!

  • Reply
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    […] Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski I’ve read both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime and am completely in love with this series. I can’t wait for the […]

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    […] series is highly addictive! I enjoyed this second book as much or even more than the first. While some parts of the book are slow, other parts are full of tension. The author balanced the […]

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