Series: The Winner's Trilogy

Review + Giveaway! The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Posted January 31, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014, YA / 58 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Giveaway! The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on March 4, 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher


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.

Valorian culture dictates that Lady Kestrel must decide whether her life will be dedicated to a military career or if she will opt for marriage instead. She wishes for neither, preferring to spend time at her piano making music yet her passion is scorned in society. On a seemingly ordinary day, she stumbles upon an auction of Herrani slaves and impulsively purchases one named Arin who is renowned for his skills as a blacksmith but moreso because of the fact that he can sing. This one decision completely changes everything.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable and the writing was exceptional. For the majority of the book the pacing is fairly slow and while I would typically find fault in this, the writing still managed to completely hold my interest. The story was slow to build but the prospect of things to come left you in a constant state of a subdued enthusiasm. It was riveting. I found the worldbuilding to be simple yet compelling and while I think more information could have been disclosed, it was sufficient enough for the time being. I anticipate that this aspect will be expounded on in future installments.

All of the characters were richly drawn. Kestrel is struggling to determine a way to get around her societies expectations of her because she wants to neither join the military nor marry. She’s a strong and confident young woman who is able to defend herself if need be, but is more of a mental strategist and is constantly contemplating. Arin is an easy one to understand once you find out his background. His behavior is one derived from simple survival, he only seeks to obtain the freedom he possessed so many years ago. The enthralling complexity of these two characters is the relationship they develop with one another. Their romance is slow to build much like the plot and doesn’t completely derail the story either. They are determined to restrain themselves from developing a relationship that is highly frowned upon as they are both bound by their loyalties to their people.

This is a book that is difficult to associate with any specific genre. It’s fantasy, it’s historical fiction, it’s romance. There are political machinations, battles and conflict between two dynamic societies. Winner’s Curse is a fantastic page-turner that will keep you mesmerized until the very end. The cliffhanger conclusion is sure to leave you astonished.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and now want to share this book with one of you! To be entered to win, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.

This is open to U.S. residents only! Sorry international followers.
Giveaway ends February 21st, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway