the winner's curseThe Winner’s Curse
Author : Marie Rutkoski
Series : The Winner’s trilogy
Genres : Fantasy, Historical fantasy, Young Adult
Publication : July 3rd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens Books

Synopsis : 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.


I decided to reread this book before reading the rest of the trilogy. I first read it back in 2015 ! I enjoyed this book as much as the first time I read it !


The story is very intricate. I really enjoyed the historical aspect even though I wished it had been more developed. Maybe in the sequel. The Herrani, The Valorian, it deserves more ! It’s really captivating !

The beginning is very slow paced and I had trouble getting into the story. It takes like half of the book to actually get some action ! But let me tell you, it’s worth the wait !

A thing I particularly enjoyed is how Arin and Kestrel got to know each other. Their relationship wasn’t forced on us at all ! They genuinely care for each other and they can’t bear to make the other one suffer. Yet they can’t help it. I just wished their relationship wasn’t that central.  It sometimes outshines the whole plot which is a shame because I found the plot particularly great !

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


  • Kestrel could have been such a spoiled young lady ! Her father is a rich and popular general and she gets whatever she wants !
    Instead I see a strong minded young woman, fierce and who doesn’t want to be a housewife or work for her father. She is also very kind and has a special ability. A pretty interesting one !
  • Arin is an enigmatic character ! He is stubborn and so withdrawn and is willing to sacrifice himself for the Herrani’s cause !
    But he softens when it comes to Kestrel !
  • Jess is Kestrel’s best friend. But in my opinion, her character lacks of personality. It’s as if she’s here to make Kestrel speak her mind.
  • Ronan is Jess’ brother. He loves Kestrel or at least cares enough for her… or her legacy !

Survival isn’t wrong. You can sell your honor in small ways, so long as you guard yourself. you can pour a glass of wine like it’s meant to be poured, and watch a man drink, and plot your revenge.

Overall I really enjoyed this book ! I gave it a 4.5 stars !

5 stars


About the author

Marie RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.



  1. I’ve just finished this book and I definitely agree with a lot of the comments you made. I do love the relationship between Kestrel and Arin. I love how I could feel that longing between them making their situation all the more heartbreaking. Jess irritated me in the sense that she was so self absorbed. She’s so naive and blind to the wider issues so I’m hoping that Kestrel distances herself from her in the next few books. The political intrigue is what grabbed me with this book and the dynamics between characters. I’m told the Winner’s Curse is an absolute heart breaker so I’m trying to will the courage to pick it up haha.

    Liked by 2 people

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