The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Title : The Winner's Curse
Author : Marie Rutkoski
Genre : Historical
Published Date : 
March 4th 2014
Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages : 355
Source : Bought

From Goodreads :
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.


The first time I added this book to my TBR, I just thought "Oh, super pretty cover." and add it. Even when I buy it and read it, I still have no idea that it was going to be a historical fiction. And I still have no idea too that it was such a hyped up book everyone is talking about.
I was never particularly like those genre from the beginning, because it is often too boring for me. But even when I read this one, I still think "Oh, it's going to be dystopian maybe?". But then it was historical all the way until the end. But, well, who knows this book is actually a really nice surprise?

"You, I understand. You, I know how to read."

One thing that maybe appeal to me so much is that although the history was maybe all made-up, it's still very well-thought of. It all seems so believable, full of depth, and overall very interesting. Like we could rolled out a map and see "Hey, that's the Herranian Peninsula up there."
And did I say it already, just how much I coveted the cover? It soo freaking beautiful.

The plotting of this book was pretty enjoyable. It is unpredictable, thrilling, and managed to keep us curious and dying to know what's next, all the time until the last page. Also love it that we actually could guess where it was going if we noticed the subtle hint being dropped here and there, but in the end we're still surprised and said "Why didn't I see this?"

I also love the fact that this book is very character-driven, and most of it is because of our brilliant main character, Kestrel (Although, honestly, her name is just so damn weird and hard to pronounce).

She is very smart and tough, using her brain when she obviously couldn't get out of a situation with her power and her lady's weak hand. And another thing that I admire from her character is that she was not that bratty wealthy girl, yet still hold her origin as a lady even though she might be sparring through mud or something.
And I really enjoyed the way she drove the story, guessing what she might have done this time, because she would always somehow had a logical, truly believable and valid way to get out of any situation. And man, doesn't I loved that just so so much?

Arin, as her counterpart and literally a slave of her, was also very well-developed. He has a strong and distinctive personality, and managed to look both strong and fragile at the same time. I also love how he successfully made us reader sympathize with his former-noble-but-now-a-slave condition, but not making it hyperbolic and melodramatic for a male.
One thing I didn't really love from him though, would be that (But not much, thankfully) sometime, when he stood to his personality, he is just simply weird. Like, I don't know what the hell you're doing even if you lay all your reason right there in front of me kind of weird. But I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Unfortunately, all the other supporting character, like Kestrel's friends, were just so generic and common that when Kestrel risked it all to save them, I just couldn't connect because, well, I don't see the why.

And the ending of this book, also, feel like it was missing a conclusion or something. I don't exactly know what it is, but I know that it left me feeling a lil bit emptier than before. 

But overall, I think this book was very worthy of the hype that surrounds it. Sure it might not be the most brilliant book out there, but it does live up to the expectation. If you're a fans of historical fiction or if you want to try to read one, this book with its strong and admirable main character and a plot that'll keep you entertained until the very last would be a great choice.

Cheers, x

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  1. Yay! This is so great to hear because I recently bought it not knowing much about it other than the hype, which I rarely EVER do. I prefer strong characters all around and it's always a treat when supporting characters are developed but I guess I will have to deal. Pacing sounds fantastic!

    1. Agree! Strong character is always a goodness on its own, but when the supporting character are also great, it's pure awesomeness :)

  2. I loved this more than you, but I'm glad you still liked it. I really can't wait for the next book in the series. There is a lot that can happen.

    1. Yep, definitely waiting too! It's exciting just to think what will happen now that the condition has changed!


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