‘The Winner’s Curse’ by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy 1)
This review may include spoilers
5/5 |Scriber Rating
Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult |Genre
368 pages |Kindle Edition
March 4th 2014 |Published
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.
I love Arin.
The development of Arin and Kestrel is refreshing to read. Arin angered me so much in the beginning and I enjoyed that. It kept me on my toes. I didn’t expect much of what happened. I made notes in my e-book whenever I thought something was clever.
Marie Rutkoskis characters feel so real. I found myself complimenting her writing style right from the beginning. It’s impressive how her writing is able to draw so many emotions out of the reader. I was captivated by the story and I didn’t want it to end.
I love this story so much. The interactions between Kestrel and Arin were perfect. The pain and anger both characters felt was justified. Towards the end they both are suffering and are in difficult positions, no matter who is in the right or wrong.
I loved Arin’s defiance. He was rude and not apologetic. He was determined to get his freedom and his home back from the people that stole it from him. He wasn’t stupid, he didn’t make stupid decisions nor did he allow how he felt to get in the way of his ‘mission’.
Kestrel is a rational thinker and I loved that about her. With that said, at times it felt unnatural for her to be so rational at such a young age. She is smart and not a fighter which made her relatable (not that I think its important for characters to be relatable, but if they are, its easier to connect with them). She’s very observant and is always thinking. I think Kestrel is who most people are, and Arin is who most people want to be, in terms of their physical strength because most people aren’t as clever and level headed as Kestrel, I don’t think.
I really cared about both Arin and sometimes about Kestrel. It’s hard to care about characters sometimes but I deeply cared for them and the situations they are in. I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know how they would solve their problems.
One thing that stuck in my mind was, I didn’t understand the world they were in, it felt familiar but I did wonder how large Valoria is. I know that most of the world is conquered by Valorians and that’s probably it. This book heavily focuses on politics and I love political strategies in stories.
I want to know more about Arin, his struggles, his punishments, how he was treated, anything to explain the cruelty and brutality of the Valorians.
It is hard to imagine Kestrels father as the general who conquered Herran to build his empire. Why is Kestrel the way she is? Should she not be vicious? A daughter of a man who was driven by greed, didn’t care about the suffering he caused and has a daughter that loves him? Or had a wife? What kind of person was she?
I cant imagine loving a person like that, even if he was my father. There are things that my parents do that I do not support and it makes me see them differently but they’re not like Kestrels father, thank God. I could not love someone who is so cruel. And it makes me question Kestrel. Does she have a heart? Of course she does but does she care what her father has done? Did she bother to ask? Does she only care about people that look like her? Will this new romance make her question her fathers actions? Will she show some concern about Herrani people. Will she ask Arin what life was like as a slave? Will she ask him about his scars? Will she open her eyes and see the Valorian people as who they are?
AND the ending, what a terrible thing to suggest to Arin. What kind of deal was that? How could she be so selfish? Valorians stole Herrani land, killed and raped most of their people, turned the remaining into slaves. Stole everything from them for greed and now when they fight to get back whatever they can, they are forced to pay taxes?? They are still under the thumb of Valoria. AND Kestrel is OK with this and doesn’t think this is a condescending offer.
No matter the lack of information we have about the slavery of the Herrani people for pure greed, I think it is a compliment to the book that I have so many questions and the passion I feel for the Herrani people and the way Marie Rutkoskis writing was able to enthral me into the story. I still think its a five star book.
This is only the first book in the trilogy and I hope my questions are answered in the remaining two.
P.s. I understand why people do not like this book. You may or may not like.
I hope this was helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the review or the book.
Thanks for reading 🙂