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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1)Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy # 1


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.


“The beauty of the flute was in its simplicity, in its resemblance to the human voice. It always sounded clear. It sounded alone. The piano, on the other hand, was a network of parts – a ship, with its strings like rigging, its case a hull, its lifted lid a sail.”

“She saw him and didn’t understand how she had ever missed his beauty. How it didn’t always strike her as it did now, like a blow.”


The crowd was thicker now, filled with the golden features of Valorians, hair and skin and eyes ranging from honey tones to light brown. The occasional dark heads belonged to well-dressed house slaves, who had come with their masters and stayed close to their sides.

Kestrel is the pampered daughter of a proud general in the Valorian army. She is of the highest class and is treated as such. When the Valorians conquered the Herrani in war, the Herrani then became slaves making the Valorians the supreme race of people. However, Kestrel is about to have to make a huge decision. At the age of 20 in her society, citizens are forced to make one of two choices: join the military or get married. However, Kestrel wants neither. Her calling is music, unlike her brave warrior of a father. When Kestrel is dragged to a slave auction she meets Arin, a pivotal character, and Kestrel does something so remarkable that you will not be able to prevent loving her!

Marie Rutokoski has such a way with words. After reading certain lines, I just had to pause and take in all the beauty and elegance that make up Rutokoski’s writing. The pace is perfect because it is fast enough to keep the reader interested, but slow enough to allow readers to enjoy all that is wonderful about this book. There are so many moments within these pages that allowed me to believe that this book will be one of my most favorite books this year. Marie paints such beautiful scenes with her words. Everything is vivid and colorful, just like I like.

The absolute best thing about this book was the world-building. If you have heard anything about this book you already know that a lot had to go into this world. This empire/society is far too vast and has far too much history tied to it for this book/series to be a small one. The world was a mix of all my favorite things: adventure, action, drama, and a hierarchy that brings controversy. We have a war that just ended and the aftermath, and we also have a society that forces their citizens to opt into marriage or the military at a certain age; this is a formula for conflict, drama, and intrigue!


***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in exchange for my honest review***



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