BOOK REVIEW: The Winner’s Curse – by Marie Rutkoski

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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
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“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.”

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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.

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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?

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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.

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WWW Wednesdays #58 – September 30th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started both my current reads yesterday evening… The first is an ARC: Americosis Vol. 2 by Haydn Wilks. Since it’s a short story I will most likely finish it later today. The second is The Kill Order by James Dashner. I’m not exactly a big fan of the rest of the series (especially the last book was a mayor disappointment), but since people keep saying this one is actually better than the main series I decided to start it anyway. So far it’s quite a fast read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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I actually finished Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas before my failed trip, but I decided to count it anyway. I loved this fourth book of the Throne Of Glass series and I will be waiting impatiently for the next book… Although I’m grateful the ending wasn’t the mayor cliffhanger I was expecting. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski turned out to be a disappointment though. It had a really slow pace and I had the feeling the story could have been told with less pages. Most of the plot was quite cliche or at least predictable and I’m not sure I like the characters or prose for that matter. More of my complaints in the full review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have Firebolt by Adrienne Woods, an ARC, lined up as one of my next reads. I might read And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini or Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver first though, depending on what genre I’m in the mood for when I finish my current reads. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is my newest TBR jar pick; a title I have been wanting to read for ages now and can’t wait to start soon!

Teaser Tuesdays #61 – September 29th: The Winner’s Curse

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is my latest TBR jar pick and to be honest I’m slightly disappointed by it so far. I’ve seen various people loving this series, but personally I’m just not convinced by the prose, characters or the slow pace…. Hopefully things will improve later on.

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My teaser (33%):

“She turned Javelin down one of the many horse paths Valorians had carved through the greener parts of the city, creating roads only for riders traveling at a good speed. Kestrel resisted the urge to slow her horse. She pressed him still further, listening to hooves hit the dirt with its blanket of fire-colored leaves.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #57 – September 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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Yes, I’m still reading Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it (which I am!), but I’ve barely had time to read last week… I’m going to keep my fingers crossed I will be able to finish it before I start my trip this Saturday.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Like I said above, I didn’t exactly have time to read during the last week and therefore I’ve only managed to finish two short reads. The first is a Harry Potter novella called The Tales Of Beedle The Bard by J.K. Rowling. Enjoyable, but of course not as good as the main series. I’ve also managed to finish Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, a very impressive read and definitely recommended (as well as the movie!).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is still my next TBR jar pick, but I probably won’t be able to read it until I’m back from my trip in November (since I won’t be bringing my kindle with me). I will only bring a few paperbacks I know I probably don’t want to keep so I can swap them at the book exchanges in the hostels I will be staying… Two of these will most likely be Careless in Red by Elizabeth George and Flood Tide by Clive Cussler. I’ve had a copy of these two on my TBR shelf for ages and it guess it’s about time I read them.

WWW Wednesdays #56 – September 9th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

queenofshadows

Wait, only one book?! It’s been a while since I haven’t started more than one book at a time… But I really want to enjoy Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas without reading other stories in between. So far I’m loving it!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Six finished books since last week, which is quite a decent number.
The first is a travel memoir; Five Weeks In The Amazon by Sean Michael Hayes. I enjoyed the setting and it was nice to learn more about the Ayahuasca ritual. It was a fast read as well, although I did have some problems with it.
I read I Was Here by Gayle Forman next, which was my previous TBR jar pick. It was an interesting read, although I’ve read better books with the same suicide theme.
I continued with Legend by Marie Lu, a series I have been wanting to read for ages. I really enjoyed reading it and I will probably read both sequels soon as well. Still, I felt something was missing to turn it into something mindblowing.
The next book None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio was just as good as people kept promising me. A very interesting topic and beautifully written; definitely recommended!
I then read End Of Days by Susan Ee. I’m still not sure I have been waiting this long to finish this series! I really enjoyed it, although it wasn’t as good as the first two.
The last book on this list is Breakfast At Cannibal Joe’s by Jay Spencer Green, an ARC that was sent to me last week.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The Kill Order by James Dashner is still high on my list, although I will probably try to read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer first. I was actually going to start it last weekend, but I got my hands on a copy of End Of Days and Queen Of Shadows and I just HAD to read those first. My newest TBR jar pick is The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski; a series I have been looking forward to start, but I’m not sure I will actually be able to read it before I leave…

Friday Finds #25 – February 27th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I’m still on a book buying ban, but I cannot help adding new titles to my virtual TBR list anyway!

My finds:

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