Book Review: The Winner's Curse by: Marie Rutkoski

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: 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.

Series: The Winner's Curse (1)

Review: Winner's Curse: "A tendency for the winning bid in an auction to exceed the intrinsic value of the item purchased. Because of incomplete information, emotions or any other number of factors regarding the item being auctioned, bidders can have a difficult time determining the item's intrinsic value. As a result, the largest overestimation of an item's value ends up winning the auction."

THE WINNER’S CURSE holds a promise within its pages, that of a dangerous game from which no one will escape unscathed. Kestrel is the daughter of a powerful general, but she does not fit into the mold of a typical Valorian. She is a brilliant strategist, who prefers to play the piano and tile games rather than join the military. Arin is Herrani, a son of the conquered country the Valorians now call home, and a slave. A chance venture to the slave market on Kestrel’s part and she ends up purchasing Arin, but will she suffer the Winner’s Curse?

THE WINNER’S CURSE is set in a world lushly built, written with such beauty and grace that you don’t want to put it down until the last word. There is even a well-developed tile game, Bite and Sting (which I’d love to play if it were real!), which shows off Kestrel’s strategic prowess. Yet there are times when Kestrel seems willfully ignorant of the workings of the world, especially where Arin is concerned. Everyone in THE WINNER’S CURSE has their own agenda, but the relationship between Kestrel and Arin is at the heart of this story. It is easy to foresee this trilogy becoming the next big blockbuster. As with any book, there are some flaws, but overall THE WINNER’S CURSE will captivate your imagination and heart!

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