Mon, February 3, 2014

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Review

The Winner's Curse book cover

The Winner's Curse book cover

The Winner’s Curse
By Marie Rutkoski
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

— Goodreads.com description

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a Romeo and Juliet story – but better.

Like the title pair in Shakespeare’s classic story, Kestrel and Arin have no hope of being together. They’re from feuding lands. Her dad’s the head of one side’s military, and he’s loyal to the other side.

Oh, yeah, and he’s her slave.

!!!

So, it’s basically hopeless. Just reading it, you’re like, “Yeah. This is unsolvable. There is no way for this situation to work.” It’s really extremely clever on Rutkowski’s part.

I rooted for Kestrel and Arin to work through the impossible in a way I never did with stupid, lusty Romeo and Juliet. Because it’s not lust (well, not only). You actually see their relationship develop and grow and there’s no denying they’re extremely well suited for one another.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance so hopeless but so lovely. It felt nice to root for them and to feel so … tragic. This book got me in the gut!

Beyond the romance, all the small elements that went into building their cultures were really brilliantly put together. It’s a complex world, and I loved my time in it.

Definitely a new one for my favorites shelf!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: marie rutkoski, romance
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15 Comments

  1. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader said:

    I was never the biggest Romeo and Juliet fan to begin with, so I must admit that I was more than a little skeptical when I first heard of The Winner’s Curse and saw the comparisons between the two stories abound. Like you, I was never particularly impressed by the titular couple’s ‘connection’ in the former tale and therefore never felt emotionally invested in the story. That said, you’ve definitely made me a little more curious about The Winner’s Curse and receptive to reading it once it’s released. I don’t know that it’s typically something I would gravitate toward as I tend to avoid the fantasy genre at all costs, but I’m interested to see how it all plays out. I do like forbidden love stories, and the stakes are certainly high for Kestrel and Arin, which is something I appreciate. I should be mad that you’ve successfully added yet another book to my ever-growing to-be-read list with your review, but I’m just too excited to pick up a copy myself now! 😉 Thanks for the lovely review, Anna. I love that I can count on you to expose me to books I might not have otherwise heard of or been interested in picking up.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    You have THE BEST COMMENTS. So thoughtful — I love it. <3

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  2. Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide said:

    Ahhh yessss! I’m so excited to start this one. I think I’ll be picking it up hopefully SOON. I’ve heard nothing but good things and I’m so excited to see your enthusiasm for it too!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Hooray hooray — definitely give it a try!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  3. Mundie Moms said:

    LOVED this book too! So glad you loved it.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    YAY

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  4. YA Book Queen said:

    You made me a bit nervous with the R&J comparison (I’ve never been able to root for them), but I’m glad that Kestrel and Arin is an easy couple to root for.

    Nice review!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    To me, it was totally like R&J, but with all the buildup that was lacking, and all the chemistry and all the compatibility.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  5. Jessica said:

    I’m in the middle of reading this book now and I agree that the romance is much more intriguing than Romeo and Juliet. I can see the star-crossed lovers comparison for sure but the situation between Kestrel and Arin has me hanging on to every page!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Sooooooooooooooo good.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  6. Alexa S. said:

    All you really had to do was mention Romeo and Juliet. That’s guaranteed to get my attention immediately when it comes to a book! I seriously am excited to read The Winner’s Curse, and it’s definitely happening soon.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    YES! Do it. The world-building is fantastic, and I know you will appreciate that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  7. Lisa is Busy Nerding said:

    This book! You’re so right that the author takes the time for us to get to know the characters and why they are so hopelessly suited for one another and not just like IN MY PANTS NOW PLZ.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I just wrote a comment back to you but then it was inappropriate when I realized everyone else could read it so I deleted it. I WILL RESPOND PRIVATELY HAHAHA.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

  8. Review: The Winner’s Curse, Marie Rutkoski | Reading the End said:

    […] Clare’s!, Good Books and Good Wine, YA Book Nerd, Books with Bite, Fantasy Book Cafe, Anna Reads, Working for the Mandroid, In Bed with Books, Waking Brain Cells, Muggle-Born, Bloody Bookaholic, […]

    Posted on: Mon, February 3, 2014

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