The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy, Book 1

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Wow, I think I can say that I did not expect that. The first thing to say is that this book is simply amazing and I loved it from beginning to end. When I saw the cover I found it stunning and it is true that it is that who inspired me to discover the novel. Of course, I also had the chance to read great reviews about the novel, so I was pretty sure that the story was worth it. But one thing is for sure, I did not expect to be blown away by the novel.

Kestrel is the daughter of a general who dreams of one thing that she takes her place in the army, something that the girl does not really seem to consider. But the only thing she can do if she refuses, is to marry… Yet this young heroine aspires to more, and wants more. She doesn’t like the society in which she lives, and her acts of rebellion are perfectly known. And when one day, a slave is auctioned and that she sees in him something more, a glimmer of confidence, touching her, she does not hesitate to spend an extravagant amount of money to buy him. A nice thing, you might say, but what next? And while he is designated to accompany her everywhere she goes, a link will appear between them, something that could endanger both. But more than that, Arin seems to hide many secrets, secrets that will change their lives.

This story is fantastic, I think I passed by all states while reading the novel. Marie Rutkoski has an undeniable talent to make us feel the sentiments of her characters. Yes, my heart missed a few beats, accelerated more than once, and tears came to my eyes many times. Of course, I had one or two smiles too, but it is true that it is a very intense story. I was really excited at the beginning of the novel to find out what would happen and how everything was going to end and I can say that everything is done beautifully.

It was very easy for me to relate to Krestel and her desires. We can only understand her choices and expectations. It is very difficult to imagine that she only has two options for her future, to see what she has to hide to live as she wants. In a way, she has more freedom than some other girls and on the other hand, she has even less. She is a really courageous young woman and I must say that I was impressed more than once. We perfectly feel her sorrows, joys, doubts and her desire of change. Yet Arin could perhaps be this change too. It is a mysterious man that we gradually discover over the chapters and even at the end of the story, it is true that we still have much to learn about him. Their relationship is impossible and at the same time our heart breaks when we see that together they form a beautiful duo. But their relationship is not authorized and feeds rumors more and more. They both play with fire, and whatever happens it seems that nothing is ever possible. I think the hardest thing for us, readers, is that we understand Arin and his actions. We understand his desire for freedom and his anger about what he has become, but it does not help us to decide between the two characters, because their goals often seem to diverge completely. But they bring to each other something extraordinary.

Of course there is not only these two characters and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed Jess and Ronan, both friends of the girl. Whatever she does, they are always there for her, to help and support her. Of course, Ronan would like more and I must say that for once, even though there is no love triangle, it easy to love this boy. He has everything for him, and he is nice in all circumstances. In short, you’ll understand that we take a great pleasure in discovering all the characters even if their actions sometimes break our heart.

The end really surprised me and I confess that I did not expect that at all. And even if it is true that it was not what I would have liked, I really thought the author had done something fantastic. But now I admit that I am more than impatient to have the rest of the story which I am sure will be as touching as this one.

To conclude, I fell in love with this novel and I can only recommend it to you. It is a nice mix of conspiracies, wars, love and choices that keep us in suspense throughout the story. A wonderful discovery!



18 thoughts on “The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

  1. Yeah! So glad you liked this one Melliane ! The hype was kind of making me a tad nervous for this one, but I completely trust you with this one! I’m so glad it was the 5-star read you were hoping it would be! The writing, characterization, and romance all sound fantastic, and I can’t wait to experience them for myself!

    Ah…you’re making me so excited for this one! 😉

    As always, brilliant review Melliane! Thanks for sharing!

    • I really hope you’ll love it as well if you try it. Yeah I understand the nervous things, it’s difficult to really know when we only see great reviews everywhere. It’s often when I don’t like the book lol but this one is really worth it.

  2. everyone seems to be loving this one. I will be reading it very soon. I was lucky enough to snag a copy cause I been drooling over it for some time. So it will be interesting to see how I feel 🙁 hopefully the hype won’t disappoint.

  3. Ohhh, Melliane! I am so, so happy that you loved this book, it is my favorite read of 2014 so far. I agree, the way the author writes emotion is so subtle and deep and unexpected, and the story is just so compelling.

    I’m glad you liked Kestrel too, a couple of people I know thought she was a little too boring. (!!) I can’t even believe it, she is my favorite type of heroine. She knows when to watch and be silent, and she knows when to take action.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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