Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Curse
Series: The Winner's Curse #1
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Starus Giroux
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Format: Paperback 

Page Count: 355


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. (taken from

Once again, Amber is just super late to a bookish bandwagon. The Winner's Curse hit the shelves two years ago, and I just recently got around to checking out the first book in this trilogy. I'd heard so many good things about it, and even after two years, it's maintained a pretty good rating on most book review sites. So, I had to figure out what all of the fuss was about. 

I wasn't sure what to make of Kestrel. She's smart and has a tact for planning and reading people, which I always appreciate in a character. However, she lacked some of the emotional depth I was looking for. I can't even say what I was looking for exactly, but she felt somewhat one-dimensional to me. She's a girl who doesn't know her place in society and who desperately wants to, which makes her a bit wishy washy at points. One second she's ready to leap into the arms of her family's enemy, the next she's a stalwart Valorian. Am I the only one who felt this way? Yes? Maybe? 

Arin wasn't a bad character as far as romantic interests go. He's your classic good-looking, mysterious guy with a past he won't reveal and a troubled heart. As the romance between Kestrel and Arin developed, I really tried to fall in love with the two of them as a couple. Up until the last few chapters, I wasn't convinced, and then BAM. All of the sudden I was hardcore shipping these two. Like that cliffhanger left me dying. I NEED THE SECOND BOOK NOW. 

The plot definitely takes a little while to get going. I was tad bit bored at the beginning, but by the end of the book, I was flipping pages faster and faster. Rutkoski's characters and plot probably could have used a little more development in my humble opinion, but I think she has some real potential. I read the entire book and didn't regret it, even if it's not my new favorite or anything. I'll definitely be checking out the sequels as soon as I can. 

I really feel like things were starting to get heated towards the end. 
I cannot wait to see what twists and turns the second book holds *cackles evilly*.