Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Title: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Edition: Hardbound
Published: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 355
Source: Bought from Fullybooked, Fort
Category: Fantasy, Romance
Trailer: Here.


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.
When I first inquired about this book from our local book store, I was saddened to learn that it wouldn't be sold here in our country. By just merely looking at its gorgeous cover, I knew I had to have a copy added to my bookshelf. I tried, along with my other bookish friends, to talk to our bookstore so they would order it. Our persistence didn't falter and eventually, they listened to our heed. They did order it and a month ago, I finally had the chance to pet my fantastic copy of The Winner's Curse. It is so stunning I couldn't stop staring. Then I just had the worst case of reading slump.

It lasted two long months. I've never been this tired of reading and blogging. Usually, I would just go ahead and read different genres until I get my groove back but I kept dumping books. I only lasted around twenty pages on each one that I tried reading then I'ld give up. Reading was seriously hard for the past couple of months. Until I gave this one a try.

The Winner's Curse is a high-fantasy novel. I have been in love with this genre for so long that I know The Winner's Curse would lift me up and break this reading slump curse am into. It did. It did. It also left me so broken , so so broken.

The Winner's Curse, as explained in the book is winning a prize but losing something of yours in return. In the story, Valorian Lady Kestrel bought a taunting Herrani slave (for fifty keystones) she couldn't even understand why. She trusted her instincts that Arin, the slave, is more than a slave. She brought him home and since he's a black smith, she allowed her to work. She was also told by the auctioneer that Arin can sing only to be disappointed. The connection between Kestrel and Arin is too strong that onset of the story, I felt it. As they go along knowing each other, Kestrel learns major things about Arin, like how he can speak Valorian and how he could ride a horse. No slave is capable of those. She continues to trust him and even though she's suspecting something is amiss. Kestrel was being forced by her General father to join the military but she knows in her heart she cannot do it. She couldn't fight. What she's good at though is strategizing and figuring out things piece by piece. With this, she learned who Arin truly is only she's too late. She's in love with him. Her enemy.

The story is truly wonderful. I loved how the romance built slowly and how the development took place. Kestrel and Arin took a whole lot of time in figuring out what they truly felyt for each other without compromising their place in the society. I loved how the story twisted me from hoping that they would eventually run away and fight for what they feel. But I was wrong. I was broken all at once. Even though I slightly predicted Arin's character, I didn't see the ending coming. It was a punch in the gut. Well, it was a cut in the heart.

The world in the book that I imagined is really similar to the mountains I've seen in the Game of Thrones. Rich, beautiful, heart-warming. But also bloody. The war between Herrani and Valorian is action-packed and clever if I may say. Fighting for freedom isn't new to any of us but the author's take on her story is quite unique. The strategy Kestrel and Arin came up with are very solid that by the time they're done planning, you can immediately smell victory. That alone is a strength I couldn't highlight in this book. Not only a fantastic world buidling or amazing plotting one would enjoy but also brilliant characters, not sloppy or too cheesy ones.

The Winner's Curse is a story full of bravery, love and sacrifice. With Kestrel's ability to love unselfishly and Arin's courage to fight for his people, this book will surely capture ones heart. The False Prince meets the Game of Thrones, you will never go wrong with the unique voice of The Winner's Curse.

"Isn't that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?"
"He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark."
"Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous."


  1. I READ THIS BECAUSE OF YOU!!!!!!!! I'm 95% into the book so I didn't read the end of this review because I was scared that I'll run into some spoilers, hehe. Anyway, great review, ate Kate! Can't wait to see you again so I can fangirl about The Winner's Curse with you

    1. Thank you! Bahahaha! Super late reply but yeah, I loved this!


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