The Winner’s Curse (Book Review)


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.

My thoughts:

4 Stars

It took a while for the book to grab me and pull me into the world that Marie Rutkoski created. I kept starting the book and putting it down, and since I didn’t have the feeling of, “I can’t wait to keep reading!” I almost quit by the first quarter of the book. However, there were enough elements that piqued my interest and I came to thoroughly enjoy this story! The setting and history she creates is unique yet believable and Rutkoski crafts the plot well, leaving trails and clues that eventually come full circle with satisfying a-ha moments.

The romance built at a steady pace and that’s one of the elements I loved most. The relationship between Kesetrel and Arin isn’t about the physical passion. The story isn’t about “hot and steamy” and I appreciated that. There was a deep emotional lure that kept you rooting for them even though you wonder as you read how it could possibly work out. Ultimately, I loved the way that forbidden love unfolds in a way that grows even more forbidden by the end of the book. I purchased book 2 right away !


Marie-RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Societyand the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, includingThe Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globeand The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Learn more about this talented author on her WEBSITE!

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