Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

winners-curse-cover Title: The Winner’s Curse
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Rating: 5/5

I’ve dived into another hyped series. To be honest, at first I wasn’t sold on The Winner’s Curse. But then it turned up available at the local bookstore, I read some more good things about it and decided that I want to give it a shot. So I included it on my birthday (which was in June) book wishlist. And Sis got it for me (she’s also getting me The Winner’s Crime, the second book in the series).

Let me tell you right off the bat. This book comes with its frustrations. Good ones, though! And the frustrating thing is that it’s hard to trust anyone there, given how many plotteries there are. And, yes, plotteries is a word. For me. Which means that there are many characters who plot things, many plotterers. There’s secrecy and lies. So it can be hard on the feels and trust. I believe the second book won’t get any better, that is, there will still be secrecy and lies and undisclosed plans. 

The beginning of the book felt slow for me, yet again. Somehow, that has been happening lately. But I pulled through it and was rewarded. The book is great. It’s told in the third person in two POVs. One is Kestrel, our female MC and the other is “the slave”, later on Arin – at first we don’t know his name, not even in his POVs, which actually was quite intriguing and interesting.

I also actually liked how the book’s description blatantly states that Arin has a secret up his sleeve, but for half the book you’re still not sure, what it is, how things are, what’s going on. Who’s getting played. Although at one point I thought to myself: “Oh, Kestrel, you’re so getting played. At least by the looks of it.” I’ve actually noted that down, you know. And then things start to reveal themselves and, oh. It’s fun, entertaining and intriguing. And sort of hard on the feels.


I liked the characters. I really liked how they felt conflicted about their thoughts and feelings, mainly looking at Kestrel and Arin, the leading characters. They are opposites, theoretically enemies, but things change and they feel weird about that. I think it played out nicely. And the characters see their errors, sort of, they learn and grow. Especially Kestrel, who grows to see that things aren’t really what she thought them to be and that she perceived things as she wanted to, not as they actually were. Aaah, I don’t know what else to say. Well, naturally, the characters weren’t perfect, but that’s how it should be. Oh, just go and read it! 😀

As for Arin, he’s shady at first. He’s hard to understand, he’s still sort of a mystery for me. And he can be such an asshole, that one moment after a death, ghaaa, I wanted to kick him. And then the next moment he’s all badass and smart, and cool, and protective. And, oh. Basically, the characters brought out a wide range of emotions from me.

Though I’d like to note that Kestrel’s name brought a giggle. Well, the name is explained – a kestrel is a hunting hawk – might seem a weird choice for a girl’s name, but in the book’s context it makes sense. I actually didn’t know about kestrel being a bird. You go Winner’s Curse, I learned something new! But the thing is, to me it is associated with a boomerang, because the game Warframe has a boomerang Kestrel in it. So there’s my giggle.

And you know what I really loved about the book? The last sentence. It was just… A perfect ending (?). I sure felt great and fitting, and great, and the feels. And the lies. And everything.

You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.

Aaaah. Basically, that sentence somehow made me really love the book.

There’s probably something negative to say, too, but nothing honest comes to my mind. But I’ve read things in other reviews just now and I would agree with some statements, but since those aren’t my thoughts that have come to me freely, I won’t say anything. I guess I just don’t analyze things in books as much as others. Never mind this. 😀

Basically, the book has flaws that you can find in mentioned in other reviews, I don’t disagree with some of them, but I really liked it. And it was very entertaining. Since the entertainment value is very important to me, The Winner’s Curse gets 5 nuts for delivering that and being fun, intriguing and everything else above. 🙂


If you’ve read The Winner’s Curse, what was your experience with it?


2 thoughts on “Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

    • It’s definitely worth getting into. And the second book, The Winner’s Crime, was great as well. Finished it last week, just have to get myself to write the review. So the series isn’t going downhill 😉


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