Book Review: “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski | Spoiler-Free

Hello! Today we will be discussing the first book in Marie Rutkoski’s bestselling The Winner’s Trilogy, The Winner’s Curse. In a few words, I ended up loving this book. I have been slowly but surely getting over my reading slump and it has felt so good to get back into reading. I have been able to read despite having a ton of midterms, so I count that as a win. On the topic of this book, it is a Dystopian novel with romance in it, but it isn’t (at least in my opinion) strictly a Dystopian Romance novel. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get into the review.


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.”

My Thoughts:

This book was definitely super different to anything I have read in a while. It is the first dystopian I have read since The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. The weird thing with this book is I was cheering on the Valorians instead of the Heranni. For once, I was not on the opposing side of the rebellion. I don’t really ship Kestrel and Arin. I have mixed feelings about his character and I definitely do not trust him. I think that the decision that Kestrel made was noble, but will end up biting her on the ass in the next book.

Regarding Kestrel’s character, I ended up really liking her. She has a fire in her that won’t be put out. She’s a fighter and I really enjoyed that about her character. As I said, I do have mixed feelings about Arin. I did not trust him from the beginning. I hated how he was going to be putting Kestrel in harm’s way to get what he believed needed to be done. That really rubbed me the wrong way. God, I did not like him at points. But he changed over the course of the novel, so I just have mixed feelings about him.

Regarding Cheat’s character, I hated him with every fiber of my being and when something happened to him, it gave me the most intense amount of joy. He got what was coming to him is all that I can say. Overall, I would say this is a very complex and amazingly written novel. I really loved the story line and Marie’s writing style. It was super easy to read, which I appreciated. The character development was on point and I just ended up really enjoying this.

On a side note, I did end up taking off half a star just because the pacing was a bit slow at times. I think it dragged a little bit at certain points in the novel, which is another reason it took me a while to read this (about two weeks). But I still really did enjoy this book.

4.5/5 hearts

And that is going to be the end of this review. What is your favorite dystopian that you’ve ever read? Mine remains The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken because it so good. Highly recommend if you haven’t read it yet! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski | Spoiler-Free

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