Title: The Winner’s Curse
(The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: March 4th 2014
Finished reading: September 29th 2015
Pages: 368
Rating 3qqq

“She saw, yet again, that her friend’s compliments were just bits of art and artifice. They were paper swans, cunningly folded so that they could float on the air for a few moments. Nothing more.”


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski was my previous TBR jar pick and I was really looking forward to it. There has been quite an hype around this trilogy and unfortunately the first book turned out to be a disappointment. Yet another case of an overhyped book… The Winner’s Curse had a really slow pace and I had the feeling the same story could have been told using a lot less pages. Most of the plot was quite cliche or at least predictable and I’m not sure I liked the characters or prose for that matter. The fact that the daughter of a general (Kestrel) buys a slave (Arin) just to end up falling in love with him was something that I saw coming from a mile away, and the fact that the same slave turned out to be an important rebel was just plain predictable. How both Kestrel and Arin behave throughout the story is not exactly natural either… And the cliffhanger ending was more than frustrating. All in all definitely not a read for me, but if you are a romance fan, you will most likely end up enjoying this story a lot better than I did.


Kestrel is the daughter of a general and has only two choices for her future: join the military or get married. She doesn’t really want either and mostly just wants to enjoy her music and freedom, but her father doesn’t give in. One day Kestrel buys a slave at an auction in a whim and this will change her future forever… Arin is not the normal obeying slave and seems to defy everything with his eyes. Soon Kestrel doesn’t know what to do with him… And she has to hide her growing feelings for him. But Arin has a secret as well as rebels are trying to take back the land that has been stolen from them in the past. What will happen to them?


Keeping in mind that romance is not really my thing, I still couldn’t get myself to give The Winner’s Curse a rating over 3 stars. The pace is just too slow and the storyline too predicable to turn it into a read that is actually worth the hype. Sure, the worldbuilding is quite interesting and the cliffhanger left me wanting for more, but I’m not sure the second is actually a good thing. Many cliches and a love triangle didn’t really help me enjoying this read either. Still, I can understand why some people love this read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy reading romantic stories. I’ve heard the sequel is actually better than the first book, so I will probably try to read it some time soon since I already own a copy.