Review: 5 Reasons Why You Should Read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, November 24, 2014
Why I chose this book:
For months, everyone who is anyone has been telling me to read this book. Becca from Pivot Book Reviews almost walked out on our coffee date when she heard that I had not read it. So I finally succumbed to the peer-pressure and got the audiobook. My mind is now officially overrun with everything that is The Winner’s Curse.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Firrar Straus Giroux
Publish Date: March 4th, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
B&N || Amazon || Indiebound

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. (Goodreads)
So I’m going to give you five reasons you must read this book:

1. World Building.
I practically fangirled when I finally understood the world in its entirety. Beautiful does not quite cover it. It’s a mixture between the Roman occupation time period with a hint of Victorian England. It’s a perfect amalgamation of eras, and it doesn’t feel out of place either. I felt completely sucked in at every turn. 

2. Who doesn’t love forbidden love?
This book, though it isn’t just entirely a romance, carries a tragically beautiful forbidden love story between a slave and a slave owner. I’ve read a couple of these books, but this one takes the cake in the Young Adult category. 

3. Kestrel can’t fight, but that doesn’t mean she is weak.
Out of all the reasons why you should read this book, this one is probably the most important. Kestrel can’t fight very well—at least in comparison to other people around her, but she is most definitely not weak. Her strength is in her mind and wit. She’s a strategist, and she always seems to be one move ahead of everyone else. She can take care of herself, though most of the time it’s by means of words, manipulation, and information. 

4. Slave vs. The Slave Owner
Because I’ve read many books with slaves as the MCs (most of them being historical fiction), I was really worried that Kestrel and Arin would both completely sacrifice their people and what they stood for in order to be with each other, but that isn’t quite the case. It may be a synthesis of it, but they stayed true to who they were, both of them—not without cost, mind you, but I appreciated the fact that love did not erase years of war, murder, and slavery.

5. Beautiful writing.
Marie Rutkoski knows how to write well dammit. The imagery, the similes, the everything was just so gorgeously and excellently executed, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself when I started a new book. Her way of writing was fluid and seamless and lovely. 

Final Thoughts:

I now desperately need The Winner’s Crime. Anyone have a physical ARC they want to let me borrow? Seriously, this book was that good. I think everyone needs to read it even if you don’t like fantasy (so far, there are no fantastical elements to it, so it reads more like a historical fiction novel). It will take your breath away from the first page to the last and make you cry tears of joy and pain throughout.

I gave this book 5 stars on my Goodreads.


  1. I loved The Winner's Curse as well. I love the way strategist in Kestrel. It was unique. I can't wait for the sequel as well! :)

    1. Eeekk! I've heard that the sequel is stunning too! aaahhh!

  2. I want to read this one! It's been on my TBR list for ages.

    1. It's seriously so good! It had been in my TBR pile forever too, but once I read it, I couldn't stop. It was phenomenal!

  3. Lol ummmm..oopsies! ;)

    Oh well, the book pushing worked!

    1. Yeah, it definitely worked, and now I'm definitely having withdrawals because you got me addicted to this series. ;)

  4. Yay! I'm glad you liked this one, Amanda :D I was practically in love with everything about this book - from that GORGEOUS cover to that cliffhanger ending (!).

    I love forbidden romance in any story, and this one was done so well, and I ship Arin and Kestrel so hard.

    I also cannot wait for The Winner's Crime to see how everything turns out!

    1. I know!! Me too! And I've heard The Winner's Crime is AMAZING!!!!

  5. Lovely review, Amanda! So glad you enjoyed this one. :) I really enjoyed this one, but maybe not as much as other people. I love that gorgeous cover (and the one for The Winner's Crime, though I wish the writing was places vertically), and the writing and world-building was fantastic. I was lucky enough to get an eARC, but I'm trying not to read it until at least next year.

    1. I know right?! I was so upset that it wasn't! The ARC is like that, but the final copy won't be. It's such a bummer!

  6. Oh yaayy!! So glad the MC is still strong even tho it's not in a physical sense :) That's always the deal maker or breaker for me. I'm convinced! I'm so going to read this asap!

    1. You must! You must! You must! It's seriously not your average book. I loved it from beginning to end!


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