winged reviews
Blog Tour, Top Ten / April 4, 2016


If you follow me on social media, you’ll know just how much I love The Winner’s Series. Since I finished reading the last of the trilogy, The Winner’s Kiss, the series shot up to one of my all time favourites. To celebrate the publication of the last book and to inspire you all, I’ve put together a list of why you should read this incredible series!

10 Reasons to Read

The Winner’s Series

  1. The quality of the writing is worth reading alone. Every word used is gorgeous and Marie Rutkoski can make your heart sing and ache in one sentence. Beautifully detailed.

  3. Kestrel redefines what a ‘strong female character’ is. Her strategic mind is her best asset. While she can hold her own in a fight, what makes her unique is that she’s tactically-gifted. Add that to the fact that she’s brave, witty, loyal, tenacious, and a talented musician with a rebellious heart, makes her a wonderful character to root for.

  5. A great balance between plot and characters. It never felt like one was overwhelming the other. I was equally invested in what was going to happen to Kestrel and Arin, as well as what was going to happen to the countries of Herran, Valoria and the world at large.

  7. The setting will please fantasy fans, but it shouldn’t scare off non-fantasy readers. Although set in a fictional world, it doesn’t have the usual magic or quests. The world feels very real and will appeal to those contemporary or historical lovers out there.

  9. Nothing was came easy. For each small victory, there were just as many defeats. From the initial scene where Kestrel is subjected to the titular ‘winner’s curse’ by purchasing Arin at an auction, right up to the end, the sacrifices they made were heart-breaking but brilliantly necessary.

  11. It’s all about the slow burn. It’s complicated and ever-changing throughout the series. Friendships are made and broken. Trust is won and lost. I loved that who Kestrel and Arin were at the start are so different from who they are at the end, and it’s just do damn well done. Best of all, they never let their feelings get in the way of their common sense.

  13. Things are not what they seem. It’s about high stakes manipulation, slavery, politics, spies, and rebellion. You can’t trust anything anyone says or does, and as a reader I loved the twists and turns the story took. It makes you question whose side you’re on when motives get revealed.

  15. FEELS. You will feel all the feels until your poor heart can’t take it any more (but you’ll keep reading anyway because it hurts so good).

  17. It’s a wonderfully complete series. For me, there was no filler middle book or a disappointing finale. It told a complete story with a satisfying ending.

  19. Did I mention there was a baby tiger?

About The Winner’s Kiss


War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

About Marie Rutkoski

MARIE RUTKOSKI is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Shakespeare, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Marie can tie a good double figure-eight knot and is very fond of perfume, tea and excellent bread and butter.


4 Responses to 10 Reasons to Read The Winner’s Series

  1. Totally agree with anything, this series is prob my favourite fantasy series of all time.
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  2. Sarah says:

    I confess – I haven’t read this series but I think you’ve just convinced me 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Alyssa says:

    I haven’t read it, but I’ve tried to stay away from the “a girl in a pretty dress!” book cover for a while now — over it. Especially if the main character is supposed to kick ass. Like, she’s going to do that in that huge gown? I don’t think so.

    My question for you is that how are Kestrel’s flaws defined? I’ve found that many times the “strong female character” stereotype goes too far in the “strong” direction and the character ends up being invincible — I hate that. The whole point of stories is to read about struggles and conflicts, and flaws are very much needed for that. You listed her strengths, but where does she fall apart? That’s more interesting to me.

  4. Every reason you’ve given for reading this series is spot on. It’s one of my favourite series because the writing is fantastic. At the end of the third book when Rutkoski lists the historical books she’s read in writing the series you are shown the amount of works which has gone into the books. You can see that she cared about creating a world which felt real and she did so by reading and researching what she wanted to write. I love the amount of care which went into it all. I almost wish I could read the series again with fresh eyes because it is so one of a kind.

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