Book Review: The Winner’s Curse


The Winner’s Curse
The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Marie Rutkoski

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

I found it interesting that this book did not seem to have an immediate end game.  Most of the books I have been reading lately have made it clear what the final challenge or goal was for the story right from the start, but this book goes straight into the storyline and lets the reader figure it out for themselves a bit later on.

I quite enjoyed the setting and how the history of the land formed the characters.  It had been ten years since the war that enslaved the Herrani and it was clear they were still bitter about what had happened, but most of them got on with their life because they had no other choice.  I also found it easy to picture the imagery in my mind so I could see what was happening while I was reading.

The internal conflict within the two main characters was realistic as they tried to decide what was right.  This often led to them having to choose between love and their country. I would rather not give away any spoilers about this though.

The ending had a slight twist that I was not expecting, and it definitely makes me want to read the next book in the series. I am sure that was exactly the result Rutkoski was after.

I would also like to add that I only knew this book existed because someone I follow on WordPress posted their own review about it, which made me want to look it up. This made me appreciate just how important reviews can be and I hope someone else decides to read this book after reading my review.



  1. Great review of a great book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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