“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”
SERIES: The Winner’s Trilogy
PUBLICATION DATES: March 2014 – March 2016
AUTHOR: Marie Rutkoski
GENRE: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance.
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
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 Winner’s Trilogy is one of the top hyped series in the YA genre. It has been on my TBR shelf for ages and it took me this long to finally pick it up. I’m a total sucker for enemies to lovers romance and I already knew that I would love this series and as expected It didn’t disappoint me at all. I enjoyed all the books in the trilogy and you can say that Kestrel is my new favorite YA heroine.
Seventeen Year Old Kestrel is an aristocrat girl who wanted to lead her own path. She’s a valorian, a warmongering empire who enslaved the Herrani after defeating them in the war. Being the General’s daughter, Kestrel was given two choices either join the military or get married but she has other intentions. She’s a master strategist but she loves Music and she don’t like War and Slavery. During her visit to the marketplace, she attends the slavery auction. When her eyes sets on a young slave named Arin something in his gaze intrigues her. She bids higher than others and finally takes him home without caring about the consequences. Arin is not a normal slave. He’s a guy with many secrets and he’s surprised with Kestrel’s gentleness towards him. They develop forbidden feelings for each other but they will always be enemies. When secrets are finally unveiled, together they will set events that will shake the empire.
CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS
I absolutely loved Kestrel! She’s a beauty with brains. Even though she lacks in physical strength, she totally makes up for it with her smart brain. She’s a master strategist who can manipulate people until she achieves her desired outcome. Her father is proud of her strategic mind and he really hopes that she’ll join the military. The relationship between Kestrel and her father wasn’t really heartwarming. After her mother’s death, he was totally changed. It was sad that he was more loyal to his empire than his own daughter. Arin is a herrani slave who’s skilled in sword-making and also a wonderful singer. It’s pretty easy to guess that he’s a guy with a secret agenda. He hates Kestrel for not being the typical Valorian who loves abusing their slaves. I enjoyed Arin’s character but there are some events in the second book that really made me hate him. The forbidden romance between Kestrel and Arin was well developed. I was rooting for them from the start, and boy they face many obstacles including themselves. There’s a lot of love-hate between them. The supporting characters were interesting especially Roshar, who we’ll meet in the third book. I wish Prince Verex and Princess Risha’s characters were more fleshed out.
PLOT, WRITING, & WORLDBUILDING
I loved the plot! It’s a story filled with love, hate, betrayal, and freedom. Everything was well executed and kept me engaged from the start till the end. The pace was perfect. I flew through the series without any trouble. I’m glad that I binge read the entire trilogy because the cliffy’s would’ve definitely killed me. The action and the romance was well balanced. The best thing about this series was the main character Kestrel. I enjoyed her character growth throughout. She had to make some tough decisions and she always stood strong even when she was in vulnerable position. The author’s writing was engaging and addicting. The series was written in alternating POV’s. The world building was great. It looked like a unique mix of roman empire and victorian era without any magical elements.
Overall, I absolutely loved this series! If I had read this trilogy five years ago, then it would’ve definitely gotten a full five stars from me. The story finally concludes with a satisfying ending and I can’t wait to check out the author’s new series which is also set in the same world.
I can’t recommend it highly enough! If you have this series on your TBR shelf, then you really need to pick it up ASAP!
WINNER’S CURSE#1: 4.5/5 stars
WINNER’S CRIME#2: 4/5 stars
WINNER’S KISS#3: 4/5 Stars
So, What do you think of this series? Have you read it yet? Do you Plan to read it?
Please feel free to comment below!
See You In The Next Post and Have a Great Day! 🙂