18 August, 2017


Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release: 2014
Source: Kindle Edition/Audiobook
Pages: 369

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BLURB: 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.

Laura's Review

EXPECTATIONS: I had seen a lot of book bloggers talk about this trilogy and it sounded as something I would like, and you were right! I loved this book!

THE WORLD: This is a fantasy world where one empire conquered another. The Valorians conquered the Herrani's lands so now there is the Valorian Empire which is very powerful and the Valorians use Herrani people as slaves... well they are slaves, they're sold in the market to rich Valorian families and they end up doing all house work, entertaining the family with music, making them weapons, etc. The Valorian Empire has a king and he banned music for all Valorians because it's considered "low class" since Herrani people loved it and played it at all times.
Here is a map:

CHARACTERS: The main character is Kestrel, a 17 year old Valorian girl. Daughter of the Empire's General, Trajan. Obviously she is very rich and well respected in the community therefore. She is also trained in military strategy and self-defense but she doesn't like it and doesn't want to follow her father's footsteps. She wants to be a musician, she loves piano and plays well! You see the problem right? the Valorian Empire has banned music and if Kestrel played she would be seen as a deviant and low-class troublemaker. Anyway, one day Kestrel goes to the market with her rich friend, Jess, and she ends up buying a Herrani slave a bit by accident I must say... she brings him home and they start talking because they both love music. She discovers that his real name is Arin and not Smith, that's how his previous master called him. They get into a sort of game-dynamics and start getting to know each other but alas, everything is fair in love and war! Turns out there is a mix of both!
The Herrani people are organizing themselves to fight back and start a rebel uprising, Kestrel is given the choice of marriage or military service by her father, Jess' brother -Ronan- is interested in Kestrel, but Kestrel is not interested in Ronan...

ROMANCE: There is barely any love in this book although I bet there will be more in the next ones.

GOOD: Everything! The story itself is not that original because you see Empires in YA a lot and wars, etc but it was well written and it was interesting nonetheless. I loved the characters, specially Kestrel and Arin. Also, there is a lot going on! As I mentioned above there is a war coming up but there is also drama and Kestrel/Arin have some difficult decisions ahead ugh I don't even know how Marie is going to play it out...

There are no real plot twists actually because everything is pretty straightforward from the beginning but trust me when I say that you won't want to stop reading this book!

BAD: I had no major minuses. I really liked it.

OVERALL: 5 stars and if the next books end up being as good as this, it will go to my favorites!

What do you think about THE WINNER'S CURSE?

HannahCassie's Review

EXPECTATIONS: This book is so so hyped that it was a matter of time when I finally picked it up. Plus the original covers are just plain beautiful, not the new ones tho :D

THE WORLD: Reminded me a little bit of Falling Kingdoms. Basically one Kingdom gets invaded by the other while the leaders are gone. It is also a bit in the past/middle ages feeling as we have people riding the horses, slaves being brought in the slave market and families that basically rule. I guess it it s pretty standard fantasy set up.

CHARACTERS: Our main character, Kestrel, is a daughter of a very powerful man. She is a bit rebellious and super naive oh and also stubborn. She ends up purchasing a slave pretty much for fun or well she thinks she buys him to give him better life but really, as long as he is a slave he is never gonna have a good free life. In general I think Kestrel was also seriously stupid, I am so so tired of having a story in the book just because the main character is stupid and incredibly naive. Anyways, the slave she buys is Arin. He is nothing special really but of course things take off from here. Frankly I think Arin was too manipulating and again stupid. The things he does...makes me roll my eyes so much. Needless to say I did not like neither Kestrel nor Arin.
ROMANCE: This was the most shocking part for me. So Kestrel and Arin fall in love, nothing really special here. EXCEPT that he is a slave and she is his master. The way it was written...I mean so much romance just about him being her slave. It made me physically sick just to read this. Slavery is not romantic no matter how you try to shape it. It is abuse of people, period!

GOOD: The original cover.

BAD: First of all this book was incredibly boring as well as lacked a single unique detail. And then we have romatization of slavery. I mean seriously? Do I even have to continue?

OVERALL: The only reason I have not unhauled this book is its beautiful original cover. But the story itself makes me sick. I am never ever continuing with this series and I think I will never read anything of Rutkoski either, the fact that she tried to make slavery romantic was a no no. 

What do you think about THE WINNER'S CURSE?