Book review: The Winner’s Curse (TWC #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner’s Curse (TWC #1)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Daniela’s rating: +5 stars

Daniela’s review

This book has been on my kindle app for AGES. And when I say ages, I mean that. I always saw it there, but it just never got my attention enough for me to open it.

Until I finally did.

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’ve been buddy reading several books with a friend of mine and this particular series was one of the most enjoyable experiences so far this year. We’ve read some really sucky books, but this one started a whole new kind of love. Seriously, we were practically reading each other’s minds, because it was impossible to feel something different other than what we were feeling, which was this raging and infuriating love. Seriously, this ignited this gigantic and deep kid of love, I don’t think I can really put it into words.

Yeah, I’m not exaggerating.

So, we have Kestrel, a high class Valorian girl. She’s the daughter of General Trajan in a world in which she only has two choices, she either joins the army or marries. She hates the idea of joining the army and she doesn’t want to get married either. She has a different idea of what she wants for her life. Little did she know though, that her life was going to go in a complete different way the day she ended up buying a slave. There was something completely enthralling about him. Maybe his eyes, the way he refused to acknowledge everything around him. Maybe it was his defiance to this world. Whatever it was, it caught Kestrel’s eyes the second she saw him. Now she must face a new way of living, a new way of playing this hard game called life.

Kestrel s just this girl who seeks nothing else but her father’s approval. She’s no soldier, but she’s managed to develop a sweet mind for strategy. But even still, she’s everything her father is not. She’s freedom, she’s art. She’s soft but hard whenever she needs to be. She’s a master in manipulation, everything she does or says has a reason to be, is well thought and has an intention. But she’s also so very easy to manipulate, because at the end of the day, she’s just a girl looking for someone to love and hold her, to see her and appreciate everything that she is and isn’t.

This world I got sucked in tells us the story of a superior people, doing everything to conquer, to win, no matter the cost. They’ve enslaved people who they thought were inferior to them, not knowing that they wouldn’t go out without a fight, not if Arin has a say in it. He must be my favorite character of the entire thing. He sacrifices everything, loses everything, and still has the strength to fight, to keep moving and to keep trusting. Yes, he’s infuriating as all fuck. For being such an observer, he tends to miss a lot, but he also understands things many wouldn’t. He is the face of hope. He is the body of strength. He is everything.

I love him, forever.

Now, the story. Jesus. This book gutted me. Like, I was so goddamn gone from the start. Yes, at first it was kind of hard to understand, I found myself rereading paragraphs because I go lost pretty easily, but once I got the feeling of the author’s narration of the story, I found it impossible to let go. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story and its characters. I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on and what they were going to do next. I swear, the way the author writes the story is just pure and raw perfection. When there’s anger, I felt rage. When there was love, I felt passion. When there was sadness, I felt misery. I know I must sound like I’m exaggerating, but I swear, everything was just super huge and deep and just SO FREAKING AWESOME.

I feel like this series is the kind you can read and reread.

This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. It was EVERYTHING I wasn’t expecting. It was EVERYTHING I was hoping for. I HIGHLY recommend it. You can’t possibly regret reading such a perfect story.


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