Monday, September 29, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski...

I am currently running a giveaway, open in Australia only, where you can enter to win 1 of 3 copies of the amazing As Red As Blood!

Title- The Winner's Curse.
Author- Marie Rutkoski.
Publish date- July 2014.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.
RRP- $15.99 (AUD).

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
In a fascinating and deadly world, where the people who used to rule are slaves of the conquerers, a young woman buys a slave, a young man, and it's the worst thing she could do, but she begins to fall in love with him.
Image Credit: Bloomsbury.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy!

What I thought:
The Winner's Curse. I believed I would love it. More than that, I was TOLD would love it. Many times. Even after I read a review where someone hadn't liked it, I still felt I would because it had such a world, such a synopsis and cover and beautiful writing.
Unfortunately, none of that left me speechless. Indeed, I was critical of it. There were only two things I really liked, in the end: 

numerou uno- the design

numerou dos- the last 30 pages

I had loved the cover earlier on, but when I started reading and truly looked at it, I realised that there were too many things about it that I didn't like and that left me with the font and text design/placing. Those I liked a lot. The rest was rather anti-climactic.

The second point is rather a more difficult one.
I read the book in a couple of days, and whilst I found areas of it to be lacking and I certainly wasn't rivited, I got through it.
I didn't dislike the story- the world felt through, and it was a readable plot- but the fact that the romance, which I didn't feel at all, was such a massive part of the plot left it so lacking for me. The romance, I think, makes up the plot- that is what the story revolves around, with other things happening on what feels like the outskirts, and when I didn't feel it it left very little for me to grab hold of and enjoy.
Arin, who I much preferred calling Erin and turning into a female character, and Kesteral and their romance was not apparent to me, and had there not been such a bigness of it I wonder if I'd really have anticipated it; as it was, I found that aspect to be irritating, particularly Arin's half (and him in general), and I didn't feel it. Didn't understand it. It didn't do anything for me.

The moments, change of pace and twists of the storyline in the last 30 pages did captivate me, and I followed that avidly, but is 30 pages enough, when there are 320 on the other side?

Rating: Poor.
I didn't dislike it, not apart from Arin and how frustrating I found him, and the romance that just didn't appear for me, but it didn't ever take flight and soar off into my imagination. Not once. So this is the end of the Curses for Winners, at least for me.


  1. I feel you on the cover - I really loved the cover when I first saw it, but after reading the book, it doesn't really go with the story in my opinion. So that lessened by love for it. I really enjoyed reading this though, but I totally agree with you on the romance - I thought that was a bit disappointing, but it was mainly the conflicts that the characters had that I found so interesting to read about. And the world-building was really good too. It's too bad this didn't grab you from the beginning!

    1. No, I didn't really picture that as a good representation of Kestral, and on closer inspection it just didn't seem as nice as I thought. I really love it when a story and a cover go really well together, and honestly? I don't think Kestral is even the kind of lady who would feint like that.
      I agree with you on the world building, though I think I'd have felt more affected by the choices and conflicts faced by the characters had I felt like I understood and could sympathise with their choices more.

  2. Oh I completely agree about the romance! It was I didn't mind Arin OR Kestrel, and I thought they were both interesting and well-written characters. But together? No. And I did NOT understand Kestrel's huge guilt and loyalty towards Arin at the end. I mean, he'd done NOTHING nice for her, and his people had treated her awfully. >.> So TWC didn't work very well for me. I think I'd read the next one, though.
    I love the covers!! I just wish the inside had been just as epic. *sigh*

    1. Well I felt less affection/care for both of the characters, particularly Arin who I pretty much disliked, but they were both interesting, definitely, but you are right: together? Nope. Not for me, not for what was happening around them. It didn't feel like true love or love at all.
      I hope the next one turns out better for you, Cait! Hopefully the pace picks up and Arin and Kestral decide to stop being twits.

  3. I've heard mixed things about this book so far. I'm sorry it disappointed you; that's always frustrating. Sometimes the hype around a book sets my expectations too high, and I end up disappointed in a book I might otherwise have thought was OK.

    1. That is so right, Lark. It happens to me quite a bit, unfortunately, that I will be so excited for something my expectations just shoot way too high, and what I might have enjoyed initially I end up disliking, because of all I hoped it would be. That can be some of the worst reading times, for me. x

  4. Awww, I loved this book because Kestral and Arin were such a great match for each other and they were intelligent protagonists. A shame you couldn't connect with them. Great review Romi, thanks for letting us know your thoughts.

    1. I'm glad it turned out to be such a good read for you, Jeann! I remember reading your review and hoping it would be nearly so good for me, but the fact that it remains such a strong read on your behalf, even though I can't say the same, is wonderful. I hope the next book is as good!

  5. I absolutely agree, I thought I'd love this book as well because of the hype, but I guess I was pulled in by the beautiful cover as well. Seriously, how can you deny that beautiful art work?! But the story was poorly written and the romance was so flat I could have used it like paper. And I couldn't help comparing the whole story to this TV show called Spartacus, which does romance in the midst of rebellion SO WELL.

    1. It looks so nice a cover to me, when I see it on the computer, but having it before me just didn't work. That happens to me sometimes. When I hold it in my hands it's just less than I had thought.

      Hmm...Well I'm sorry you ended up comparing it, though it's good that that is such a good show! I haven't heard of it before, actually! xx

  6. Awww, I was looking forward to this one. I, too, have read great reviews of it and was excited. But if the romance is bad, that's really unfortunate. Especially since I'm somewhat picky about romance.

    1. I think it's how you personally react to the romance- for me it just didn't work at all, but mostly people seem to really love it, so if you do end up reading it, Alise, there's the possibility it could feel right to you. I'll keep an eye out for the possibility of a review! xx

  7. Ah, that's too bad. I've been curious about reading this one myself because it has received soooo many positive reviews, but I've had my doubts about it myself. I will likely still try it out for myself just to see, but I think I'll lower my expectations a bit going into it now that I've read your review. I sure hope I'll like Arin more... it's not looking that way though :S Though maybe it'll help to take a page out of your book and think of him as her, Erin ^_^

    1. I think that all sounds like a really good idea. I wish I hadn't had such high expectations, because there's the possibility I would have liked it so much more, but perhaps not. There are elements to it that are great, but overall just not for me, I think.

      I hope to hear back if that helps!


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