The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Monday, 9 March 2015

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

For the longest time The Winner's Curse has been showing on my E-book shelf, and when I saw the sequel The Winner's Crime I could not resist putting my hand up to review it. I completely glanced over the fact I had not actually read the first.

Consequently, I started reading, and came to the conclusion that I was seriously missing something and I had better skim the previous installment to refresh my memory. Only to find out I had NOT in fact read it. Queue, me in a panic as my deadline was looming and now I had 2 books and reviews to finish.

I read these magnificent books in 2 days flat, without breaking a sweat! I can not believe how I managed to let this gem of a book sit on my shelf for so long without knowing the awesomeness I was missing. I Loved it, I loved nearly every minute of it. Ohh, I got frustrated to be sure, the book puts you through nail biting, head banging and a bunch of cursing. And now I will tell you why..


The Winner's Curse starts with Kestrel, a general’s daughter. She is strategically gifted, smart and has a talent for music; however her choices for the future are limited. Once she turns 20, she will either have to join the military (which she has no desire to do) or she marries, that in turn is not ideal either.

The story plays in a recently ( aproximately10 years ago) conquered and colonized country where enslavement of the previous inhabitants has occured and dealing in them is a common commodity. Kestrel, out of boredom and defiance, ends up purchasing Arin at the markets without realizing he has been methodically placed by the enslaved in order to gain valuable information to overthrow the oppressors and take back their land and homes.

Now a battle with time begins where Arin tries to secretly gather forces and Intel, and where Kestrel battles her emotions to maintain the separation and her moral values . Lines are blurred and all too soon both parties have to make some life altering choices.

The story is told from both  Kestrel and Arin's POV, which gives a good understanding in both of their perspectives and how it widens as they get to know one another in the short months that follow.

Marie Rutkoski has a definite talent when it comes to words. Even through this book holds some filler that could be considered inconsequential shallowness (think gowns and social visits), to me it was an insight of the world around them and highlighted the contrast to their actual feelings. For example:

They where paper swans, cunningly folded so that they could float on the air for a few moments. Nothing more. Kestrel felt something within her lessen. She didn’t know however, whether that something was tension, easing into relief, or expectation, dwindling into disappointment.


You are the god of lies, Kestrel had said. He looked at his people and smiled, and the smile was a lie-but like writing in a mirror, whose reflection is the inverse of the truth.

The book ended on a crushing note. I expected it and it is a fitting ending to the first part however it also left me totally %$*#^$(*!, on the inside. My consolation price is that I have The Winner's Crime waiting for me now. Thank god I unknowingly spared myself the agony of having to wait for it's release!

Would I recommend it?
God yes, it’s a great read. Did you love Grave Mercy, Throne of Glass and Game of Thrones? Then this will be right up your ally, I bet.. I would go as far as to say it's one of my highlights from the last year (can I still count this as last year *cough*)..

And with that through, here are some more quotes:

“Kestrel raised one brow. "How very surprising. Didn't you just make a promise and ask me to trust your word? Really, Arin. You must sort out your lies and your truths or even you won't know which is which.”

Her fingers were familiar with this ritual. It was no trouble to light the lamp blind. She could play blind, too, but didn't want to risk missing a note. Not tonight, not when today she had done little but fumble and err.

He won. Kestrel waited, nervous, and wondering if the way she felt was how he felt when he lost. His voice came haltingly. “Will you play for me?”

He pressed it. “Doesn't your father’s theory of war include winning over the other side by offering sweets? No? An oversight, I think. I wonder… might I bribe you?”

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