The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski [Book Review]

Hi everyone!

I’m back from my short little get away in the school holidays and ready for some blogging and book discussing! I’ll be sure to get back to all the comments and such that were left whilst I was away. Today I’ve got a book review for The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski which I actually finished last Thursday but haven’t had a chance to get down my thoughts for, but oh well, here they are now!


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I have to admit that I had high expectations for this novel. Some reviews I had seen had been nothing short of glowing. Plus the sequel The Winner’s Crime had just come out sending out further flurry for the series. I settled in for a good one.

My initial thoughts actually regarded the writing style. It was different to anything else I had read before. Choppy but flowing at the same time. Literal but holding deeper meaning. This took me a little while to get into, I even had to read sentences over a few times before I could actually move on with the paragraph due to confusion in the writing. But this soon passed and I was thrown into the world of society and politics.

Something else that hit me straight off the bat was the characters. They were completely unlikeable. Kestrel was whiny and unable to make a decision and Arin was conniving and never let his emotions show, which really frustrated me. Their stories intertwined very well but this meant little to me as I simply couldn’t connect to the characters or their decisions. I found myself wishing the novel was in first person so as to really see the characters and understand them, but alas, I was kept in the dark!

For the first half of the novel I was quite disappointed with the plot. Nothing was happening. The storyline revolved around society, what was going on, what they thought about the main characters etc. It wasn’t enough to fill the void surrounding the hype around the novel, I felt as though I was reading a completely different story to everyone else.

And then something happened. I don’t know what, but BANG! the plot was actually going somewhere and all the lead up began to unravel before my eyes. I understood why the author had all these scenes beforehand. The stale romance now had a spark and the plot had direction. The main characters were (a little bit) more likeable and world and society building started to take off. The loose ends were tying together and I found myself enjoying the story a whole lot more.

I still had a few problems with the story though. I felt as though the romance was way too fast. One minute they hated each other and the next they are kissing passionately and I was so confused. And I continued to dislike the main characters, especially Kestrel. It seems like she gave in too fast and only occasionally used her strengths to her advantage. She isn’t like a lot of female characters we see in YA today. She wasn’t an assassin or a warrior or even a strong-willed person, she was strategic and cunning which perhaps made her more relatable but never more likeable, a real shame.

Overall, I did end up really liking this book despite its slow start and unlikable characters. In the end I came to appreciate the focus on society and strategy in politics and war and thought it made for a very engaging novel. I will be continuing on with th series mainly because I’ve heard the next one gets a lot better. I’d recommend this book the fans of the Luxe series by Anna Godberson.

I gave this book: 4 Stars.


Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you in my next post. Let me know your thoughts on The Winner’s Curse!



Goodreads: Liamo’d

Twitter: @liamslibrary83


2 thoughts on “The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski [Book Review]

  1. At first I was like, “ooh. Unlikable characters. Interesting.” But then your descriptions turn out to be the opposite of how I like my unlikable characters (pun not intended). But yeah. A friend was sort of “okay, tolerable” with this one but, after reading the sequel, she’s a complete fangirl.


    1. I think it’s very much an introducing first book because it was really the first half that wasn’t really keeping me interested. The main characters were definitely different to what you might normally see in YA , quite refreshing now that I look back haha!


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