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



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

  1. Well, I borrowed a copy of the book from a friend, so technically I’ve already read it, but you know how it is when you read a really great book…you start to forget things because you read it too fast. 🙂 So, I want a copy so I can read it again, slower this time, and memorize all my favorite passages. Plus, who *wouldn’t* want that gorgeous cover sitting on their shelves? I mean, really?
    starryeyedjen recently posted…Review: The Shadow Society by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

  2. erinf1

    I’ve been reading such great buzz and reviews for this book! I’m very intrigued by the premise. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Alyn Y

    I’ve had this book on my TBR list for a while now so it wouldn’t hurt to get a copy of it. I’m more likely to read it sooner than later if I have a copy of the book.

  4. I feel like I’ve been in a rut in terms of YA reads lately — I love the genre, but not much new has been catching my attention these days & I’ve been gravitating toward adult books instead. But I’ve heard such wonderful things about this book and I think it might be the one to get me excited about YA again — the premise seems unique which is right up my alley and just the thing to shake things up!
    Christine @Buckling Bookshelves recently posted…Under the Wide and Starry SkyMy Profile

  5. Katie

    This book sounds so amazing, and as I was reading the first few chapters (chapters 1-5 are free to download on amazon) I felt like I was transported back in time to a magical land that really did exist. Marie Rutkoski’s setting for her novel was reminiscent of Roman times, too, and I just LOVE that period in history.
    Ahhh! It just sounds amazing!

  6. Jeanne

    The cover alone is enough for anyone who reads to want this on their shelf. It is so beautiful. Thanks for the chance to win a great book.

  7. angel d

    because i would like to read it and i love the cover and would great with my other books with dress covers. 😀

  8. Cee

    I’ve heard so many excellent things from bloggers that I’m getting caught up in the excitement! I want to see how Kestrel struggles with her choices. Also, I love that cover. I love the way it looks like she’s holding onto the ‘R’ in the title.

  9. Rachel S

    I love this cover so deeply and have been looking forward to this book for so long!!! The plot sounds amazing, there seems to be so much going on and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!! 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Christina T

    After reading the free chapter preview, I know that this is a book that will keep me up all night just so I can finish it. It drew me in and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I also agree that it seems to be book that dapples in multiple genres and it only makes it more exciting to read!

  11. Oh, why do I want to rad the Winner’s Curse? There are SO many reasons! The main one being that I LOVE the idea of a women buying a slave and then falling for him. It’s just so sweet, and I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book!

    Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂
    Vannah Batista recently posted…Nogiku Series Blog Tour + GiveawayMy Profile

  12. Wow! Great review Bonnie! This sounds like a great addition to the YA genre! I’m especially loving the sound of the great characterization and writing; and I’m really glad to hear this one doesn’t succumb to all the hype it’s gotten! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bonnie, and, as always, brilliant review! 😀

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
    Zoe N. recently posted…AlienatedMy Profile

  13. Allie L

    YAY! I’m glad you enjoyed the book! I’m always nervous to read a book that has so much hype when the book hasn’t been released yet because I get high expectations for it, thinking it will be the best book of the year but when I read it, I realize that my expectations for it were to high and become disappointed. I really want to read this book because the premise of the book is something I always liked in a book. What I mean is it seems like a fantasy novel which is one of my favorite genre. I also like how the love interests are from two opposing nation which makes for interesting development to the novel. Also, the cover is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to read it.

  14. Krystyna

    I hadn’t heard of this book, and that’s a rare thing since I’m on top of all the YA books coming out a year in advance. But it popped up in the PW Daily email this morning, and with a starred review not only from PW but Kirkus (because they tend to be haters), I have to give it a read. Plus, I love YA high fantasy and romance, so I’m sold.

  15. Jennifer

    I read the first 5 chapters and they seem really great! I’ve been looking for a good book to read lately, and according to my friends on Goodreads, this novel is one to check out!

  16. Vivien

    Seriously every review I read for this book is extremely positive. It immediately made my tbr list when I saw the cover and read the synopsis. I need this book like air now. Seriously.

  17. Diana

    Huh. So every reviewer I trust (and the majority of which, incidentally, write extremely entertaining negative reviews) loved this book or are pumped for it to come out. Definitely going to snag it when it comes out.

  18. Stephanie T.

    Well, first of all, the cover is gorgeous. The cover caught my eye and I decided to look up some reviews, and to my surprise nearly all of the people who have the same interests as me loved this book! So of course, I’m dying to read it.

  19. Mona

    I swear, I will sell my soul to get this book. I read an excerpt and it just my the wanting even worse.

    Amazing review btw!

  20. Sydney

    I would love to get this book! The plot line seems interesting and I really want to explore the theme of slavery in it. I would be psyched to get this. Plus, I’ve never gotten an ARC before.

  21. Leah

    There seems to be a lack of engaging fantasy books lately, but this one has such an interesting premise and promises to help turn that slump around. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.

  22. I’ve heard such amazing things about the books. The plot feels like one that would be amazing when done right. Also….that cover !

  23. Danielle B

    This book sounds amazing! I’ve been dying to read it for months. Plus, everyone is raving about how wonderful it is. It’s making me jealous LOL 🙂

  24. I’ve read this book and I promise you won’t be disappointed. This book is a magnificent tale of love , war,and deception. This book left me wanting more . Well done Marie Rutoski.

  25. Sarah

    I’ve heard SOOOO many amazing things about this book and I think it would be so great to win an advanced copy! 🙂

  26. Cassie luna

    I heard about this book from Kristin cashore, she posted it on her website and i immediately checkedcit out and was intrigued, sound really good;) can’t wait!

  27. I’ve heard so many different people say that they’ve loved this book that it’s making me impatient for the chance to read it! I’m so glad to hear that the characters and world seem well developed and that the relationship is slow to build. I really can’t wait to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Lori recently posted…Life of a Blogger: Introvert or Extrovert?My Profile

  28. Something To Look Forward To - Week of March 3rd, 2014 - For the Love of WordsFor the Love of Words

    […] the following titles: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski {My Review} A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier {My Review} The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld {My […]

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