Review: The Winner's Curse

December 27, 2017

The Winner's Curse Aesthetic

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Survival isn't wrong. You can sell your honor in small ways, so long as you guard yourself. you can pour a glass of wine like it's meant to be poured, and watch a man drink, and plot your revenge.”

I should probably admit that I was slightly sceptical of this one when I first started reading it at the beginning of the year. Sceptical enough to put it aside for a while without giving it much of chance, however, when I picked it again a few days back I was more than just pleasantly surprised.

The book goes like this, Kestrel is a young lady who enjoys a very high position among the nobility of the Valorian empire, which conquered the island in which she lives many years ago and made the former population into slaves. Her everyday life is a succession of balls, dinners and pretty dresses. Everything changes one day when against her better judgement she purchases a slave at an auction, the problem is however, that this boy has his own agenda and plans to use her to destroy her people and save his own.

Now, I hadn’t read many reviews before I started it and what I heard, about the whole slave-master situation kind of creeped me out, I mean, ninety-nine percent of the time that is stuff of creepy romantic novels… But in this case, well, it’s very different.

As you must have guessed from above, this book is a romance book, which also happen to have a political background. The relationship between the two main characters is very nicely developed, the first portion of the book is practically devoted to that while the second one is dedicated to the consequences. Kestrel and Arin’s interactions are full of careful banter the realization that the other is not quite the expected.

I really like Kestrel as a heroine, she’s kind, smart and strong-willed but not a warrior as many other main characters tend to be in similar novels. She wins her fights with her brain instead of her muscles. There is also a soft side to her despite her exterior, there is her wish to please her father and gain his respect, even though they’re worlds apart, and a bit of loneliness that makes relating to her very easy.

In the end I found The Winner’s Curse to be a very satisfying and quick read, and the ending, oh that ending, I can’t wait to pick up the second book.


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  1. Beautiful aesthetic, I loved this book too!I liked that the romance balanced the politics, and Kestrel has great growth in the series as a whole. :)

    1. I know right? (about Kestrel I mean) I'm on book three now and it's been so satisfying to see her character grow with the story.

  2. Kelly | Creme de la Chic28 December 2017 at 21:48

    I absolutely love this book! I mean, I love the entire series. It was so unexpected when it came to the romance, like you mentioned, most of the time that kind of stuation ends up beign extremely strange, but this once it's just perfect!

    1. Yes, it was very different from what I was epecting, but it worked so well in the end!

  3. Ohh I loved this one so much too!! Although I confess I read it when it first came out and it was like a 3 star read for me, and THEN I reread it a year later when the rest of the books were out and holy heck?! Like 5 stars the whole way. I'm in love!! I adore Arin and Kestrel, and I like how Kestrel isn't the typical kickass heroine. She's really clever and kind of devious and it was so great to read the political plots too. :D

    1. I totally understand what you mean, I've finished all three books now and IT WAS PEEEERFECT. I think the politics were incredibly well managed, just like war scenes. I like that about Kestrel too, she's a bit manipulative but it all adds to her character in the end.