Thursday, 25 June 2015

Let's Talk: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Let's Talk contains spoilers

4 stars

Definition: The winner's curse is a phenomenon that may occur in common value auctions with incomplete information. In short, the winner's curse says that in such an auction, the winner will tend to overpay

Goodreads 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.


I didn't expect to love this book was much as I did. I mean, the world just pulled me in and the romance was amazing. I mean, the romance wasn't in your face, but it was still enough that it kept me satisfied.
I loved this book. To be honest, when I first finished it I gave it 3 stars. But later on when I was thinking about the book and the next books to come in the series, I didn't understand why I gave it 3. I kept asking myself: What did I dislike about the book? Why is the rating low?
Because I kept thinking this: Wow, that fighting scene was awesome. The game in the book is cool. Kestrel is a good character. So is Arin.
So why such a low rating?
I couldn't think of good enough reasons for it to not be 5 stars. Because this book was good. I mean good.

Previous to this book I read a book that became a favourite. What are the chances I read two right after one another?

Anyways, as I said, the book was amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone. To avoid spoilers, do not read beyond.

And can I just say how rare it is for me to give a book perfect ratings.

Rating: 10/10
Parental Rating: 14+


Let's start with the very beginning. A very strong hook in this story. It just grabbed me from the very first page. Kestrel buys Arin because he can sing. Kestrel loves playing the piano and she loves music in general. So she buys him. This was all actually a plan. The man (auctioneer) purposelessly said that Arin could sing because he knew that Kestrel would buy him.
Kestrel's father is a general and Arin's people want to fight back against her people.

So Kestrel hopes he will sing soon. But he never does. He works in the stables. Kestrel previously had a nanny who was Valorian (Arin's ancestry). She was very close with her and never saw her as a slave. Arin (in the duration of his slavery) thinks Kestrel is a stupid girl who is rich and thinks money can get her out of anything. But Kestrel is very intelligent and she knows what she is doing.

Side note: Arin does not speak Kestrel's language, only Valorian. Secretly, he does speak her language but he will not let people know. I was more and more attracted to him because of that.

One of my favourite parts was when Kestrel goes to Irex's party with Arin with her. It turns out Arin used to live there with his family before he was a slave. So he sneaks off and tries to steal a book. But Irex catches him and demands a battle. Kestrel says she will take his spot and defend him.
Arin is not happy.
Kestrel ends up fighting Irex and winning because of her intelligence and telling him that she will tell everyone his secret (a secret son) if he wins. So Kestrel wins.
My reaction:

Anyways, Arin ends up taking over when Kestrel father is at battle. Oh, how the tables have turned.

Kestrel is now a slave to Arin.
But of course, he doesn't really make her do anything. He knows what it is like to be a slave.
But Cheat wanted her too. He made her massage and clean his feet. And let me tell you, when Arin found out, he was mad.

Seeing Arin fight on the battlefield was awesome, too. I loved the alternating POV.

By the end, Kestrel ends up getting out with the help of her father and Arin sees her one last time when she tells him she is engaged. She has yellow glitter on her eyebrows which is a sign of being engaged. Arin is sad that she didn't feel what he did, but thinks it is for the best.

It wasn't a cliffhanger per say, but it was close. I didn't feel a strong desire to read the next immediately, but I still want to read it.

As a last note, I want to comment on how well the author was able to make us see both sides of the story. I was debating whose side to be on the entire book. I mean, of course I want the Valorians free, but not the way they intend to do it. Kestrel's side is also good, but has it's downsides, for examples slaves.

Rating: 10/10
Parental Rating: 14+

View all my reviews


  1. I absolutely loved this book as well! I agree with you - the author does such a good job showing both sides of the story. The next book is just as good and I can't wait to read the third one!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. This author does an amazing job!
      I can't wait to read the next book!
      And the cover for the third is gorgeous!

  2. Holy cow this review is awesome! I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING!! :D

    -Megan, Books of Fascination

    1. Thank you, Megan! Have you read the second yet?

    2. Not quite yet! I have yet to get my hands on a copy! :)

    3. Let me know what you think! I also have yet to read it.