The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski 
Pages: 355 pages 
Published: March 4th, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Won at a giveaway (signed)
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 too 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 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 of lose your heart. 

Grab it here! 

Generals, destinies, and political intrigue? Hell to the yes! Everyone- and I mean everyone- has been talking about The Winner's Curse and it's everlasting glory in the book world. The synopsis has set me in the right direction, and I'm really interested in seeing where the romance between a royal and a slave goes. Buckle your seat belts because I have way too much to say about this book!
I'm the kind of person who likes to read the acknowledgements at the back of the book. Marie Rutkoski said that she was inspired to write a story around the concept of the "winner's curse" mentioned by her economist friend, Vasiliki. "Winner's curse" is quite simply translated into how the winner of an auction has also lost because he/she has won by paying more than all other bidders, but the aftermath and value of the item in the future is unknown. The way Marie was able to weave that concept into her story and book really astonished me. Instead of auctioning with an item. Marie decided to use people. 

In a world where Valorians, or the wealthiest of the people that live under the emperor, live safe inside the empire's walls and living luxiorious lives, there are a group of slaves called the Herrani who wish to overthrow the emperor and take away the lives of Valorians who they find are greedy and useless. Kestrel, the daughter of the finest general, is expected to enlist in the army with her father or be married off to someone she doesn't love, and either way she loses. In the markets one day when she strolls around the slave auction, everything changes with just one glance from the slave who's eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. The slave, Arin, is bought at the market for a heavy price and it all starts out with just a few Bite and Sting games, but something else blossoms underneath. Forbidden romance and political conflict for power ensue. 

Kestrel is one of the strongest built characters to hit the shelves. She's intelligent with battle strategies and wise when it comes to making a plan. She knows when and when not to reveal too much about herself. She's loyal to her duties as a Valorian, and she is in disapproval of betrayal. Overall, we see Kestrel's character progress and become more vulnerable throughout the book. I think vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things a person can shed light on. I know Kestrel is supposed to represent the girl on the front cover of the book, but that's not exactly what I think of when I first imagine her. Instead, I think of her as a girl in armed combat suits, fighting for her life. 

Arin is our slave, and just like Kestrel, he has a real knack for coming up with battle strategies on the spot and he's great debater/politician. He's the slave with mysterious eyes that hold both trouble and wonder, something Kestrel is excited to discover. Arin is such a sweetheart and what every girl looks for in her book boyfriend or OTP match. He understands the best in Kestrel and sacrifices just about all he can to protect her. Flattery never get's you anywhere, but sweetness... well, I don't know about that. Along with his admirable traits, he's also somewhat of a bad boy! I like the perfect balance of sweet and charismatic with rebellious and spontaneous. 

It's true that, like many authors (Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare), Marie Rutkoski creates characters that you begin to grow a sticky spot for over time. I'm a sucker for greatly portrayed male characters but even though Arin may just be fictional, he just renders me speechless sometime. 
A slave and the daughter of a royal general. I really don't think YA romance can get any more entertaining. With the almost-forbidden romance kind of thing going on, it contributed to the conflict of the story and caused much trouble. I mean surely this must seem intriguing to you! The story is built around romance and the more and more I think of it, the more I realize that love (in this book) has started wars and blood to be spilled. 

The romance learns towards that cat-and-mouse-kind-of-thing. It's very persuading and sucks you into see how the romance will end- in love or in flames. I'm always up for a intriguing cat-and-mouse game. It just made the romance in the story more compelling, and not in the annoying kind of way. The slow and gradual build-up of romance was truly amazing- even thought you'd never expect a royal and a Valorian to be together! 

READ THE WINNER'S CURSE. Don't be like me and wait till the last minute, haha. Okay guys, thanks for staying for this review. I'm off to read the second book ASAP. JK I'm already done reading it!! 

Have you read the Winner's Curse? FANGIRL WITH ME!

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1 comment

  1. I have not *cries in dark corner*. I've also heard great things about this series and I'm getting kind of desperate. I need this book, but I don't want to have it as an ebook (unless it gets pretty cheap). Counting the days until I can go to a book shop!
    Anyway, wonderful review!

    Melissa @ The Reader and the Chef


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