The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski made me sleep-deprived for three whole days, that’s how badly I wanted—no, needed—to finish those three books. Each book was fast moving, beautifully developed, and highly addictive. I’ve been on a high fantasy kick, and this trilogy has only made my love for the genre greater.
The premise is this: A general’s daughter buys a slave and finds that the price she paid for his life is much higher than she ever could have imagined (it basically turns her whole world upside down). This trilogy delves into intriguing strategy and deadly politics, and is overall slightly reminiscent of Kristin Cashore and Rae Carson’s respective novels.
I loved the characters, the world, the plot, the intricate details Rutkoski wove throughout the trilogy and the themes she incorporated into her stories.
Throughout the trilogy, Rutkoski used themes such as: the value of human life, being true to one’s self, independence, the meaning of loyalty and love, and the importance of familial relationships.
The first book especially focused on the value of human life and the importance of equality within relationships. The relationships displayed in Winner’s Curse were complicated, and yet quite tangible. I fell in love with the main characters, and I hated the villains. Rutkoski drew me in to her world with these complex and vibrant characters who cultivated beautiful and sometimes problematic relationships in a world reminiscent of ancient Greece and Rome.
The second book, Winner’s Crime, was, perhaps, my least favorite, if only because my hands were stiff from clutching the book for so long. The tension within this middle installment filled my mind and body through to the end, making it almost impossible to put down. I loved the change of scenery and the depth that Rutkoski continued to give her characters and world they live in.
The final installment in Winners trilogy, Winner’s Kiss, was beautifully done as well. Rutkoski masterfully wrote fast-paced action sequences that cut between parallel plots in the best, and most intense, way possible.
I don’t want to say too much about the last two books and give anything away, but I will say that I would highly recommend this trilogy.