The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – Review

Gosh…it’s been forever since I’ve posted! This shall be something of a cathartic post because I need to stretch my blog-posting legs–they’ve been dormant for quite a while. I literally have five drafts and two other spotlight pages I was working on but life can get busy…and writers block, so.

So, let’s get down to business. My latest read:

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)| Available for Purchase via
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Pages: 355, hardback cover
Received Copy: personal library

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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.



I actually found the Marie’s author’s note at the end interesting because she explains the origin of her idea for the book, the discussion of auctions with a friend and the term “winner’s curse” came about.

…it describes how the winner of an auction has also lost, because he/she has won by paying more than what the majority of bidders have decided the item is worth. […] The winner’s curse (at least, in economic theory) is about the very moment of winning, not it’s aftermath.

Marie also follows with what could happen if she set this theory in a story and didn’t hold an item for sale, but a person, whether the price was not only worth monetarily but also emotionally. It’s a different perspective and I think that was pretty cool! I love when authors leave little treats like that for their audience to read about. Knowing this tidbit can also help the reader see how the author has set up the story up. Kestrel is a strong and smart main character, daughter of a general–while lacking in proper physical skills of a warrior, she makes up in strategic brainpower which is equally as dangerous when fighting a battle. She teeters on the dilemma of reaching the age, as a woman in her times can reach, whether or not becoming a soldier or to be married is how she will see fit to live her life. In the meantime Kestrel tries to be as loyal as she can with the turmoil that unfolds around her, to her father and her people, or to love and the enemy, so-to-speak.

The Winner’s Curse is a really enticing read and once again, it falls under the category of “I-bought-this-when-it-came-out-but-took-forever-to-read-it-getting-dust-on-my-shelves-because-I-have-many-books-I-want-to-read”. I know…that’s the longest category name ever, but through the buzz I’ve seen through Goodreads and on other social media, it’s a book that’s not to be kept off your reading list!

Things I Liked:

the plot…
Winner’s Curse intrigued me right from the start. After marathon-reading through Throne of Glass, the old world female warrior-characters are my new favorites! I can get easily sucked into these plots; I love all the thinking and strategy the characters go come up with to get themselves out of some treacherous times!

the main character…
Kestral is already born with a sense of destiny being the only daughter of a powerful, famous general among her people, the Valorians. Even though she has this inclination of how she is to act and to be raised, Kestral’s character is also relatable to the reader. She’s torn on the choices she can make seeing the pros of marrying or being a soldier as well as the cons. There in lies the dilemma of what to do with her direction. But her freedom and her ideals tend to be more important than what’s expected of her. We all can relate to a pre-destiny of sorts, following in someone’s footsteps or restrictions against success, but how we handle the situation is how we can understand where Kestral comes from.

the cover…
It’s just the prettiest isn’t it? The dress screams some sort of higher society while the dagger says badass. The colors are gorgeous and while we’re not supposed to “judge a book by it’s cover” this was a win if you ignored the saying LOL!

the drama…
There is plenty to choose from within the novel: the higher society decisions, befriending and purchasing of slaves, the duels, the war discussions, survival, the warrior training, the love, the betrayal, the scandalous secrets one hears…it’s all there in The Winner’s Curse!


Things I didn’t like:

Why isn’t the next book out yet??!! …But never fail! I have a blogger friend who came through that’s letting me read the goods before it’s out! Stay tuned for thoughts on The Winner’s Crime, which is due out in March 2015!

Until next time… Linz xx The Kid


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