Book Review: The Winner’s Curse & The Winner’s Crime – Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy – Book 1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Synopsis from Goodreads:   

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.

My Review:
Once again, what I am loving most about a book is the fact that the main character, Kestrel, is not this all perfect/powerful person;  while she’s smart and cunning, she is decisively not good at combat, despite being a famous general’s daughter.  She is drawn to things and activities that are  are not valued in her culture.  The Winner’s Curse focused a lot on strategy and games, but the beautifully woven words that developed the relationship between Kestrel and Arin created some of the best pictures of a budding  affection between our two points of view.  I loved that the book wasn’t exactly an insta-love type attraction, but something that developed over time, and still has places to go.  The world and society that Marie Rutkoski builds are made up, yet are so very believable; the hatred and prejudices on both sides of the spectrum mixed with those who realize value in all people, and respect for their culture make this story so well rounded and easy to love.

Rated:  PG
Genre: Young Adult 
Rating:  5 Stars


Title: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy – Book 2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski

Synopsis from Goodreads:   

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.


The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.


As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.


My Review:
I am the worst when it comes to the 2nd book of a series; it’s the book that I love to hate because it’s not the introduction, where you get to know the characters and establish the foundation of the world/story (which is kind of my favorite part) nor do you get to find out the end result.  It’s exactly what it is; the stuff in the middle – there’s typically action, but it’s not the explosion of events you would get at a conclusion, and since you already “know” the characters – well it’s just a lot of in-between and tension that is left unresolved.  The Winner’s Crime is no exception, it is the moving board between what is going on, and what is going to happen; and while I did enjoy Kestrel’s devotion to Arin in her own way, and I absolutely love the word pictures that Marie Rutkoski draws especially in the area of Kestrel and Arin’s relationship, I was frustrated beyond belief at Kestrel’s avoidance of Arin and her inability to simply tell the truth.  In the end, this entire book was about the divide between her desire to make her father proud and the desire to help the guy she loves – and the consequences of both.  The Winner’s Crime was a good book – but it was the 2nd book of a series and I want more, bring on Book 3!

Rated:  PG
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:  4 Stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s