Review: The Winner’s Curse

*I received a copy from my public library and chose to review of my own free will*

The Winner’s Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

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.
Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

My Review

I tried very hard to stay away from this book. I had read some review on Goodreads that made the book out to be one sided. If you don’t know, this book is about slavery, revolution, and a girl falling in love with the wrong man.

Slavery does not sit well with me, especially not books who glamorize slavery. This book made slavery out to not be as bad as it actually is. the slaves had privileges and were taken care of…but in reality, slavery is a harsh life. You need permission to just go out and by food or shoes for your children. And in this book the slaves are a once free people enslaved because they valued beauty over war. That being said, I’m setting aside that bias for this review.

The young female MC, whose point of view we follow throughout the book, has led a privileged life. She is wealthy, well-educated, taught in the art of fighting, and has a love of piano. She feels a compelling urge to buy a young man at the slavery block and befriends him, only to later learn of his betrayal.

Her life is turned upside down just as the natives’ lives were flipped upside down when they were first invaded. Her people are slaughtered and driven out of the country while she is taken hostage, presumably for her own safety by the young man she once bought and fell in love with.

The book does a fairly good job and showing how people who grow up with slavery as a normal part of every day life really have no idea of the dark-side of slavery. The MC wonders wh slaves are fighting against it when they are provided homes, food, clothing, and jobs, while at the same time seeing slaves punished for the slightest infraction and believing them to be deserved.

The slaves on the other hand see only the people they once were, forced out of their homes and made to do for others, instead for themselves. We see a little of the young man’s point of view, what he does to get the upper hand.

Throughout the book we see these two people from two very different worlds grow closer, to the point where they forget who the other person actually is. Even in the end, despite the betrayals committed against each other, the MC fights for both of her people…her own countrymen and the natives she once called slaves. she has grown to care for these people, see them as people not just slaves.

I really liked the execution of the Winner’s Curse. The story was well told and well developed. It was traditionally published so you know it is well put together.

I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

4 stars4star


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