Review 304. Marie Rutkoski – The winner’s curse.

17756559Title: The winner’s curse.
Author: Marie Rutkoski.
Pages: 355.
Published: March 4th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Sort: The winner’s curse #1.
Source: Won in a giveaway.
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. 
Rating:  

That was good! I had high expectations after the hype and I’m happy to announce this book lives up to it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and I was pleasantly surprised.

Kestrel has two choices: she get married or she joins the army, which is something her father tries to force on her. He is the general and he would love to see his daughter doing the same. She knows she has no talent for fighting, but she is intelligent and sharp, which makes her perfect for tactical decisions. Kestrel forgets all about this when she buys a slave on the market during an auction. There is something about Arin that speaks to her and she follows her instincts.

I loved Kestrel. The author could easily make her too perfect, but with a few flaws here and there she turned out to be a refreshing, realistic character. It’s obvious that she thinks before she acts, so I like that she let go of that when she offers a lot of money for Arin. This gives their relationship an unique twist, especially when you find out who Arin exactly is. Arin was a little mysterious and I like the interesting matter he brings into the story. I don't have a feeling I truly know him at this point of the story line, but I guess that has been done on purpose.

The world-building was solid, but there aren't many details. It might get explored more in the sequel, but the story mostly revolves around Kestrel and Arin – and that was fine. I never felt the need to get more information to understand the story. There is no insta-love between them and I like how their feelings develop. I wasn’t completely invested in their romance, but I could see why they were attracted to each other. The ending is just brutal and it's the example of a good cliffhanger. I can’t wait for the sequel!

27 comments

  1. I'm with you on the world building, Mel! Solid but not exactly deeply explored to begin with. I would have liked to have seen more but hey, I suppose beggars can't be choosers, right? Fantastic review, Mel! <3 x

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  2. Everyone seems to love this book! Glad to hear you liked it (:

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  3. I'm glad you liked this one, Mel!! I agree about Kestrel, and Arin, and especially the world-building. It was solid but it also wasn't explained too much. I didn't feel like I needed it though. It's more realistic than fantasy, so maybe that's why? AND THAT ENDING! Can't wait for Winner's Crime! :D

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  4. Yay :D Awesome review Mel. <3 I'm so glad you mostly loved this book. I just love it so so much. Sigh. It's awesome :D I'm glad you loved Kestrel. <3 She's amazing. I adored Arin. Hopefully you will get to know him more in book two :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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  5. I agree I also like the development of their feelings and the fact that it wasn't insta love! So glad you enjoyed.

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  6. seems like no one feels how i felt about this book. I mean I did like it but I really disliked Arin's storyline. I did love the cliffhanger though!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  7. Yaay I'm happy you had the chance to read this one Melanie! This is the book that I will recommend to anyone who will listen, I loved it for the reasons you outlined.

    I loved how each character was self-serving and realistic. And Arin, LOVE ARIN. Have you read the novella Bridge of Snow? It's about Arin's childhood so it's cool to see his family before the hostile takeover.

    AND YES THAT CLIFFHANGER. Ugh, I need to re-read this one again!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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  8. I love the lack of insta-love. That's easily one of my biggest pet peeves. Mysterious Arin and Kestrel, flaws and all, definitely seem like my type of characters. I've had this gorgeous beauty sitting on my shelves since it's release, and yet I still have not read it. I'll definitely be bumping it up my list a bit now. :) Glad to see you enjoyed it so much!

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  9. I'm glad you liked this!! I pre-ordered it but waited a few months to read it because I was wary of all the hype. Totally lived up to it for me too, I loved Kestrel and Arin and I thought the world building was interesting! Felt more historical to me, almost Ancient Rome-like. I can't wait for the sequel to learn more about everything!!!

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  10. I agree about the world-building. It's solid and good but still there aren't many details given. I loved the romance, it developed so perfectly. I really like Kestrel's character. She's so perceptive and cunning and takes thinking logically to the next level! Arin is kind of the opposite in that he thinks with his heart first and foremost. They both are fiercely protective and loyal to what they believe is right. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Wait until you read The Winner's Crime, emotions overload... Spectacular review, Mel <33

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  11. Agreed! I loved how the revolution came much earlier in the novel than I was expecting. It left a huge chunk at the end of the novel where I had no idea what to expect, but where I was still very much invested in the outcome. I'm so curious as to what will happen next. MUST GET THE WINNER'S CRIME.

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  12. So glad you enjoyed, I was nervous reading this one with all the hype as well but just loved it. The story telling was fantastic and I really liked both the characters as well. I can totally agree with the world, a lot was left to my imagination, I do hope for more details too!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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  13. I'm glad the hype didn't ruin this one for you! And you read it just in time for the sequel coming out soon as well. I adored Kestrel so much. ♥ Lovely review Mel!

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  14. Great review! I really do want to get to this book, maybe even before the end of the year!

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  15. I agree with you about liking how Kestrel's and Arin's relationship developed! I thought this book was somewhat slow at times, but I'm definitely excited for The Winner's Crime. Amazing review, Mel :)

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  16. I must be one of the few people who hasn't caved and bought The Winner's Curse yet. I just keep seeing positive review after positive review and I have no idea why I'm not dying to read it! I'm glad it was such a great book for you, though. Makes it even more promising... which raises my expectations even more. T_T

    To be honest, I'm not too worried about Kestrel being "too perfect" or whatever. What I'm worried about is that she might turn out to be one of those stereotypical badass heroines, and while there's nothing wrong with that, I just want something different, you know? Something that can make her more memorable. But at least she was lovable! And gosh, now I'm dying to know who Arin really is.

    Yeah, I've heard a lot about how the world building was pretty good, too. Some reviews have said that it focuses more on the romance than political aspect, so I'm not quite sure what to think about that. I guess I'm just thankful the romance had none of the instalove or love triangle shit, haha.

    Awesome review, Mel! I might pick this one up once I cut down on my review pile... xD

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  17. The lack of worldbuilding and background information about this world is what threw me off. I need to understand the world before I can actually enjoy the story.

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  18. Woohoo, so glad to hear you enjoyed it even amongst the hype! I loved the romance between Arin and Kestrel and thought they had a lot to offer, both individually and together. I do think there was a lack of world building, hopefully this is solved in The Winner's Crime! Great review Mel!

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  19. I recently ordered this one on Book Outlet so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I love a character driven story, so I feel like I'll like this one despite the lack of world building. Can't wait to pick it up! :)

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  20. The hype didn't do goodly for this for me. *hides in the corner of shame* I just...I didn't ship Arin and Kestrel AT ALL. I liked them both! But I thought Arin was so cruel and rude to Kestrel and his people were too...I didn't understand at all why she'd have any loyalty to them at all. Both sides of that war were pretty despicable, right?! But I did like how girls could be in the army too and things. That was awesome.

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  21. I cannot wait to read this book. It sounds great. As yourself, I have high expectations after all the hype, hopefully, I'll like it as much as you did.
    Great review!

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  22. I can't help but be a bit leery with regards to novels that have garnered a lot of hype because more often than not it is unfounded, especially in YA. I'm pleased that that proved not to be the case where The Winner's Curse was concerned. The minimal world-building is a tad off-putting though, I would have expected there to have been more in a book 1.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  23. Glad you loved this one, Mel! Arin was such a mystery for most of the book, but I loved finally getting to know him. He had me swooning quite a bit. I thought the writing style was just so different and lovely, too. I gotta say that I'm not sure when I'm gonna read The Winner's Crime - it sounds so heartbreaking! I'd prefer to go straight into the third book!

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  24. I hope this book works for me. I really want to read it because it sounds perfect for me but the hype has pushed me off from reading it. I know I need to dive in and I'm glad that the book lived up to the hype. Plus I do enjoy a well laid cliffhanger.
    Thanks for the great review!

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  25. You have no idea how pleased I am to hear this because I just love that book to pieces. I loved all of the mind games, and how achingly beautiful their romance was. I was shipping them together so HARD, and it was so good, I couldn't care less about worldbuilding and etc. The whole book was just so rich and full of feels. *raises the ship flag high*

    So yeah, if you get an ARC of The Winner's Crime, don't tempt me! *hides in a corner*

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  26. YAY! So rarely do high expectations seem to pan out these days...and I know I also have very high hopes for this one so seeing that you did too and it STILL worked for you makes me very happy this morning :D

    You make the MC sound really wonderful too, I feel like I could love her already! And honestly, I'm especially glad about your comment on the world-building being solid, despite lacking a bit in details. I can get behind that and like you said, it may well expand in the sequel. Thanks for another wonderful review Mel ^^ and I'm thrilled you loved this one! xx

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  27. Yay! I'm so pleased you enjoyed this one, I was surprised by just how much I liked it. I am so excited to get to the sequel now, especially with that cliffhanger of an ending.

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