Amazing characters, a hate-to-love romance, and war // Why I love The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski

Hello everyone! 🙂 Disappeared for a few days from the blog, aha. So I had other plans for posts, but I haven’t done a book review in SUCH a long time! I have such a tremendous pile of them now I guess I’m scared to approach them. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it is a HUGE pile! Not TBR-huge (nothing’s going to beat that, probably) but huge when I think about my books-read vs books reviewed ration and when I see everyone else’s reviewing queue consisting of, like, max, 7-10 books. ANYWAY. Moving on! The point: I’m doing a review! On a series, in fact. I read the third book in this trilogy pretty recently, but the other two books were read quite a while ago and I thought it might be easier to just do a series review. I won’t be getting too much into the specifics of each book, though, so no spoilers! Let’s get into it!

Winner's Curse Series Review

Check out the books on Goodreads: The Winner’s Curse | The Winner’s Crime | The Winner’s Kiss

What I Loved

  • KESTREL KESTREL KESTREL omg. She is one of my absolute favourite book characters–with such good reason. She’s such a strong character, and not in the traditional fighting and battling department (as we see nowadays). No, the thing I loved about her was the fact that she relied on only her brains. She was not thoroughly trained in the art of sword-fighting and etc (in fact she was not good at all) but that did not mean she was not able to protect herself, nor was she a weaker person for it. Her strength was found in her brains, and in her resilience and determination. She did not give up, did not stop fighting, and her sass thoughhhhh. All around love her, honestly.
  • Can I get an IRL Arin, please??!!
  • Seriously, though. He’s so awesome, albeit the fact that he made terrible decisions sometimes. But don’t they all?? I may absolutely adore Kestrel but Arin is no less of an important character. His love towards his people, and what he does to save them is so sweet and his love towards Kestrel!! That brings me to my next point which is:
  • THE ROMANCE. Agh. So so cute. And amazing. And sweet. And heartbreaking. Did I praise it enough yet? Basically, it was one of the best things ever. The hate-to-love trope appears in this one, and it was so well done! You can see, through each of the characters’ thoughts, how they slowly go from hatred to genuinely care and concern for each other, and the uncertainty behind what those feelings entail (primarily in the first book). My heart suffered so so much because of this, with us being left with a will-they-won’t-they situation throughout the series.
  • The feelssssssss. Ahhhh there were so many. My heart was just a puddle, basically. It melted. (Rip)
  • The excitement! There was so much at stake here and I loved the thrill of reading all that happened. There wasn’t a single book in the series that didn’t have me sitting in anticipation of what happened next. The endings of the first two books always left me on such a cliffhanger, though!!
  • Oh but I LOVED THE ENDING SO SO MUCH. It was so so perfect.
  • But to finish the characters: Can I just say how much I adored Roshar??? We meet him first in the second book, I believe, but it’s really in the third book where I fell in love with his character. His and Arin’s relationship is just such an amazing bromance and ahhhhhh I love it.
  • But also the world is so fabulous! I loved how Marie Rutkoski made us really part of the world, and the politics, the description, the set up of everything made it a really great experience.
  • Her writing is also so great and I would totally read anything else she puts out. (Speaking of, when will she do it I NEED MORE)
  • But the amount of heartbreak it took to get there oh my lord.
  • Basically this series: Betrayal! Intrigue! Strategy! On how to kill people and make the life of the emperor miserable! All the good stuff. What are you waiting for?

What I Disliked (very very briefly because the list is minimal)

  • The pacing did feel off for me in certain books. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but although the books were very concise and everything and the pacing were generally very fast and fit well, there was just something… off, sometimes. But honestly not a big deal at all.
  • That is literally it.
  • There may have been more things but they’re so insignificant I can’t remember them…

Final thoughts

Basically this trilogy is one of the best of ever and you MUST read it if you haven’t already! Go. Do it. The world is amazing, the writing is so good, you will (most probably) love the characters, and the story is just so interesting. And, also, just in case you were curious for the individual ratings:


So that’s it for this (kind of short) series review! Have you read this series? Are you a fan of the hate-to-love trope or no? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

Until the Next Meal, Analee

19 thoughts on “Amazing characters, a hate-to-love romance, and war // Why I love The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski

  1. Lovely review! I haven’t read the whole series, only the first book, and the pacing did feel a bit off, which prevented me from completely falling in love with it. I have heard about how the next books just get better and better, and your review confirms that ahah. Maybe I should give the next book another try 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Oh you should definitely continue the series Marie! And I totally get what you mean about the pacing I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt that way.. But it definitely gets better, it’s so good. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series if you decide to give it another shot! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my all time favourite series. I should look into rereading this sometime soon.

    I am a huge fan of the hate-to-love you trope. The connection just makes the romance all that more intense and realistic to me. This series and Legend by Marie Lu are my favourites that use it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Kestrel so much. She is one of my all time favorite characters. I love that we get female heroes that can fight, but I also appreciate when we get ones who are strong in other ways. I had so many feels while reading this series (the second book almost killed me). So glad to find another fan of this trilogy. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! I feel like characters like her are rare nowadays in comparison to the female heroes that fight. I love both types of characters, but I love that Kestrel is such a strong character without being so skilled in the fighting department. The second book omg yeah I agree! And haha likewise. ❤️ Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. YES. This is one of my favorite series and I am so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Kestrel is such an amazing heroine and I love how smart and strategic she is (she kind of reminds me of Annabeth from PJO). Her romance with Arin is fantastic as well. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eeeeee yayyyy I’m so glad to hear you loved this!! It’s such an awesome series. Oh my gosh you’re right! Annabeth and Kestrel are so alike aha imagine a Bite and Sting game between the two of them… 😏😄 Arin and Kestrel are just 😍. Thank you!


  5. Hahaha I love this review! You definitely made me want to eat them all. As in, now.
    I read the first book a little while ago and quite enjoyed it, but just haven’t gotten around to the last two yet! I think I’ll just reread the first one and read them all in a row. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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