REVIEW: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My rating: 

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.

Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.

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This book did nothing for me. Smiley

The thing is... I wanted to like this book. I really really wanted to like it.


Because it's part of my first order from Book Depository and I was super psyched on getting my hands on this. So despite me cringing on a lot of parts while reading this... despite my better judgement saying that I should stop reading this... I didn't. And it's a good thing I did. While I liked the last part of this book, it still wasn't enough to make me give this a higher score.


"The Winner's Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price."

Kestrel stupidly accidentally purchaed a slave named Arin at an auction that she also Smiley accidentally ran into. They were auctioning this hot piece of meat named Arin, who is not only hot as hell, but could also sing. That was enough to set Kesrel off in a bidding spree. Smiley

"Dropout. Why bid on him? Because he's a singer? A singer of a dirty Herrani drinking songs, if anything."

I have to agree with this woman. I really don't get why she suddenly felt the need to purchase him. Maybe because he's really good looking? Because she definitely checked him out.

His bare arms were muscular, which likely only confirmed the crowd's belief that he would be best working for someone with a whip in hand. Perhaps in another life he could have been groomed for a house; his hair was brown, light enough to pleasure some Valorians, and while his feature couldn't be discerned from Kestrel's distance *shakes head*, there is a good proud line in a way he stood.

Yeah right. For someone who's not into these things you sure have noticed a lot about him Kestrel.

Anyways, so she ended up winning the bidding and ends up taking Arin home. But then she doesn't know what to do with him really. Rich girl problems. Buying things they don't really need Smiley

After a while, they started hanging out more and Kestrel was like becoming this paranoid girlfriend who worries about Arin's exes or other girlfriends. Arin didn't even express any sort of interest towards her and she feels like they're close and he likes her. Of course she owns Arin, technically, so he would follow her everywhere, but it doesn't mean he likes her that way.


It was silly. 
It was ridiculous. 
It was hilarious.
It fucking pathetic.

I'm gonna stop now because I just can't say anything more about the gist because... I'd be spoiling too much of the book if I continue ranting about it.



Arin must know she couldn't come to him. Why didn't he come to her?

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I really hate reading about characters who were supposed to be great, but in reality, they are just a bunch of paper dolls who really does nothing to prove their greatness. Kestrel was one of them, at least in the beginning.

Okay. She does have her moments, but most of her moments were really not too great. And everytime I was starting to like her, she has to go and mess it all up again by thinking something stupid like why Arin didn't come for her or what was the slave who was close to Arin thinking about when the rumors came out that she was sleeping with him. All of those just made my eyes roll. I hated those. I really really really forced myself to finish this book. The other characters were fine, except for Kestrel. Reading her thoughts really make me so angry, most of the time.

I didn't sympathise for her character at all. Even when the ugly situation towards the end happened. I didn't fucking care about her or her people. I just didn't. I was expecting her to be kickass and fierce and all that. But no. She wasn't like that at all. She does have good ideas, but I still don't care. I just don't. She was an act before you think kind of characters and it hurts the people around her really. She was an idiot. She was partly a reason for why the conflict happened in my opion. For someone who is so smart, she didn't see anything coming. She was too lovestuck to care.

Also, I hated that he cared so less for her father. Especially towards the end when everything was going on, he chose to see Arin than actually look for her father so... this is for you Kestrel. Smiley


"I began to think that you wouldn't play someone you couldn't beat.

Arin was a little more fleshed out than Kestrel. His motivations were clear from the start and I didn't like that. I wish I didn't know much about him near the beginning of the book because honestly, it ruined so much for me. I liked how he knew what he has to do, unlike Kestrel who can't seem to make up her mind what she wants to do. I don't think I have much to say about Arin because he really wasn't annoying. I actually liked reading in his third person perspetive. You get to understand him and why he's done the things he's done.


She is Kestrel's friend who I hated a bit more than Kestrel.


He is Jess' brother and who isn't too annoying. But his character is a cliche in my opinion so... Meeeeh.


✔ You guys knew I had to start with this. The cover. Is so freakin fabulous. I can't even. I just can't. It's s enticing and so pretty. I wanna be that girl in the cover.

✔ The world-building was not too loud. The author didn't throw you with a bunch of history about the Valorians (the conquerors) and the Herranis (the conquered). It was very discreet and I really really liked it. This book actually reminded me of a movie... I forgot what it's called Pompeii? The society that this book has was very similar, only the male lead character didn't become a gladiator but a slave who is also a blacksmith being auctioned off to the Valorians.

✔ While I did not really like this book a whole lot, the fact that it kept me reading means that this book is entertaining. It will keep you wanting to know more about what happened to the characters. It was intriguing, I was really curious how the forbidden love story was going to go and also if there would be betrayals and all that.

✔ Arin. I liked his character actually. Okay. I didn't like him the entire time. I liked him on like the first half of the book, but there was a shift on his character that I did not appreciate. But his motivations were very clear and I liked that. I understood why he was doing the things he was doing. I think out of all the people, he was the one I felt close to genuine sympathy for.


✘ I'd like to start with Kestrel. I did not like her at all. She was the rich girl with rich girl problems type of character. She was supposed to be this great girl who is good at strategizing, which is why her father was trying to recruit her for the military. But she proved again and again how wrong that was. She rarely thinks before she acts really. She usually thinks when she already did stuff. Like when she purchased Arin from the auction. Haha. See. That was proof that she wasn't a strategist. She did not think about the consequences when she won the auction. Sigh.

✘ The romance. Oh my fucking god. I cannot even. I didn't get when it even started. I can't pinpoint the exact time or even just when Kestrel could have felt that she was special to Arin... I didn't know how it started or even when. It just started. She started getting jealous for some reason and it just got my eyes rolling every time she does this, and boy there was a lot of moments when she did this. It was annoying as fuck man. It was totally unbelievable.

✘ Aside from Kestrel, I'd also have to say I hate her decisions. It has to have its own bullet point because she made a lot of stupid and irrational decision. She risked her life (twice!!!!!) for someone who barely even know.

✘ Kestrel's relationship with her dad. I feel bad for him really for having a daughter like Kestrel.

✘ What was that ending? Sigh.


It might be quite obvious that the main reason I didn't like this book was the main character. It doesn't always happen that I rate a book a lower score just because of that. When I rate books, I always take into consideration the other things that is good with a book. But Kestrel was so terrible she messed the whole book for me. Everything she does just. Smiley

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I would have really liked this book if she wasn't so damn annoying. I actually thought Celaena was my least favorite popular book character, but honestly, Kestrel kicked her out of the top spot. Kestrel!!!!!! GRRRRR!!!!!.

I dunno what else to say really. But this was really a big let down. I was so disappointed. I was so hoping this would be good, but it didn't give me what I wanted or what I hoped for. It sucks. But I guess not every book would be for you.


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