winners curse

Title: The Winner’s Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: 3/3/15
Reviewed by: Aurora

I really loved The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. At first, I thought it sounded kind of interesting, but wouldn’t be the best book. I was completely wrong. This book was outstanding. I was fully captivated and sucked into the story. I can’t wait to start reading the next book in The Winner’s series, The Winner’s Crime.

The Valorian empire attacked and conquered Herran ten years prior to the story. They took the Herrani people as slaves and treated them as property to be bought and sold. In Valoria women have two choices, to get married or join the military. Kestrel, the main character, is the daughter of the military General. He wants her in the military because of her brilliant strategic plans and ideas, but she’s not sure that’s what she wants. Everything in her life changes when she buys Arin, a Herrani slave, at an auction.  

The story is in 3rd person point-of-view from both Kestrel and Arin. With both sides of the story, everything falls together and easily flows for the reader.

It’s set on the island of the previous Herrani empire, ten years after it was taken under the control of Valoria. It’s a similar time period to when the US still had slavery, except set in another world. This is relevant throughout the book due to the slavery of the Herrani people and the tension between the Herrani and the Valorians. It also becomes extremely important later in the book with the events that take place.

This story doesn’t really have a super clear message, but the two it has are don’t trust anyone and be careful who you fall in love with. Mostly, that’s because in that society if you trust or fall in love with the wrong person, bad things can happen.

This would fall under the category of fiction, romance, action, and fantasy. I’ve honestly never read a book quite like this one. It touches the hard topic of slavery without feeling overwhelmingly dark or sad. It also smoothly brings a lot of real world ideas into this other land.

Marie Rutkoski is the author and she did an amazing job. It’s really well written and is so carefully thought out. I haven’t read any of her other books yet, but she also wrote The Kronos Chronicles and The Shadow Society. I will absolutely read the next book in The Winner’s series. And now that I know about Marie Rutkoski, I’ll have to check out some of her other stories.  

I think this book is going on my list of favorites. It’s absolutely perfect and I couldn’t find even the smallest hole in the plot. I can’t find one thing I dislike about it (that’s not a necessary part of the story line). The characters are unique and interesting. The world is fascinating with a mix of good and bad depending on your point-of-view. And of course the story line itself is enthralling and refreshing with a whole new concept. If all of Marie Rutkoski’s other books are like this, I don’t know why they’re not as big or well known as The Hunger Games.

I would honestly recommend this book to almost anyone. It has a little bit of everything in it like romance, action, fantasy (because it’s a whole different world), some historical (in the way they live and dress), and of course it’s fiction all the way. The story actually doesn’t have magic or that type of fantasy, but it’s perfect without it. So I think it can appeal to everyone.

If you have the chance or don’t know what to read next, definitely read The Winner’s Curse.