The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski|Book Review

seriously need to catch up on writing my reviews. So here is my review on The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski!

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5 / 5 (4.5 stars!)

Note: part of this review will be spoiler-free, and the other part will be spoiler-y, but I will let you know.

Here is the cover, which I think looks really stunning:

And here are some pictures I took with it (you can also find them on my Bookstagram)



My summary: The main character of this story, Kestrel, the daughter of a famous general, lives in a world where slaves are bought and traded everyday. It is a normal part of their lives. One day, while Kestrel is at the market, she finds herself walking towards the slave auction and has a sudden urge to buy a young man named Arin. However, Kestrel is not thinking of the consequences while making this decision…

Sorry, that was a really bad and short summary, but personally, I think you should go into this story without knowing much about it. If you would like to learn more, I would suggest going to the Goodreads page about this book.

The Winner’s Curse has a slowly developing romance (which, in my opinion, is always better than Insta-love!) set in a richly described world that engrosses you into the story until the very end.

My opinion in one sentence: Though I couldn’t directly get into the story, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Winner’s Crime, which comes out March 3rd! (Hence the 4.5 stars)

What I enjoyed:

  • The romance: Actually, the romance was one of my favorite parts of the story. I loved how although you could see that Arin and Kestrel were attracted to each other from the start of the story, their relationship grew throughout the book rather than instalove. I FRIGGIN’ HATE INSTALOVE. And also, Arin has dark hair. Silanur likes loves fictional guys with dark hair. (I will get into more detail about the romance at the end of the book later, in my spoiler-y section.)
  • The plot: Though I was not directly sucked into Kestrel’s world, as I read further, the plot unraveled, and got much better. If you are having trouble getting into this book, just push yourself a little bit more because the second half of the story is much better than the first. In order to avoid spoilers, I won’t say anything else about the plot, other than the fact that I need the sequel because that cliffhanger at the end of the book!
  • Some of the characters (Okay, let me admit, I was neutral with most of the characters in this book.)

What I didn’t enjoy:

  • As I said above, I really liked the plot, but I couldn’t directly get pulled into the story, but that’s alright, since it got much better.
  • Kestrel, the protagonist, was sometimes annoying. Not really annoying, but rather, when Kestrel was mean. Sometimes I could not connect to her and did not understand her motives while she was hurting the people around her. But still, not that annoying, if that explains anything.

Hmmm..I just realized that I enjoyed the majority of this book, and there were barely anything I did not enjoy because I was neutral (e.g; I did not hate a character too much, but I did not love them too much, either.) with most of the characters and stuff.

If you are afraid of being spoiled, please leave NOW. Thank you so much for reading my non-spoilery section of this review!


So. The ending.

Kestrel has to marry the “Imperial Highness”s son, the prince. (He was a prince, right? I forget) Well, as a future prediction, obviously something is going to stop their marriage. I mean, first of all, the only reason Kestrel is marrying him is like a war tactic, and the single chance she gets to abandon him, she will. Although Kestrel and Arin are on opposing sides, it is also obvious that they will somehow find a way to love each other during the war. (If that made any sense)

I honestly do not know what to expect from the sequel, but I just hope it does not disappoint me because I really liked this one! Not my favorite book, as I kind of classify my favorites as “six-stars” but still. I wonder what will happen with the war; as in who will be victorious: the Herranis or the Valorians? I mean, so far it seems to me that the Valorians are going to win the war because they have more powerful forces and more people on their sides, but you can never know with books, ya know?

I think that the sequel is also going to be better than the first (or at least I hope so) because in high fantasy series, the first book is always the world-building story; when you meet the characters and get used to the setting. The second book actually has the action in it, and you are more familiar with everything. But the one thing I am worrying about is: the war.

Personally, in books, I do not like it when the entire book is focused on a war between two sides, or when everyone is planning the war, etc. (Unless the book is mind-blowingly fantastic, such as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.) So I really hope that The Winner’s Crime will focus on things other than the war because then it gets kind of boring.

And I know this is random, but for some reason The Winner’s Curse gave me a Daughter of Smoke and Bone vibe (they are not similar, not at all, but how it read seemed similar to me, look:)

  • Kestrel = Karou
  • Arin = Akiva
  • Valorians = Karou’s side (the chimaera, except in The Winner’s Curse, the Valorians are more likely winning)
  • Herrani = Akiva’s side (the seraphim)
  • Kestrel + Arin = Karou + Akiva

If you’ve read both of these books, I think you’d understand what I mean.

Anyways, that’s pretty much it for this review, except here are some quotes I tabbed while reading the book, which I enjoyed:

“Then, quietly, he said, ‘I could do it.’


‘I could braid your hair.’



I don’t know why but I thought Arin braiding Kestrel’s hair was so cute. ❤

“When she saw the opportunity to flee, she would take it. She would bring down the hounds of the empire howling down on this city.”

Kestrel being kick-butt.

“Kestrel listened to the slap of waves against teh ship, the cries of struggle and death. She remembered how her heart, so tight, like a scroll, had opened when Arin kissed her. it had unfurled.

If her heart were truly a scroll, she could burn it. It would become a tunnel of flame, a handful of ash. The secrets she had written inside herself would be gone. No one would know.

Her father would choose the water for Kestrel if he knew.

Yet she couldn’t. In the end, it wasn’t cunning that kept her from jumping, or determination. It was a glassy fear.

She didn’t want to die. Arin was right. She played a game until its end.”

Yea, I really like that quote. 🙂

Anyways, that’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed reading my review, and thanks for reading it!

–Silanur ❤


One thought on “The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski|Book Review

  1. Pingback: Books I Should Talk About More On Here! | AloofBooks

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