Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: July 2014
Source: Review copy from publisher
Buy the Book • Goodreads
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.
After reading The Winner’s Curse, I was in a haze for days—a little daydream bubble that couldn’t be popped because this beautiful book was such a delight to read. I wanted to lock myself in a room with a cosy blanket and a cup of tea and savour it again and again.
Make no mistake, if you’re looking for a high-action fantasy read, this isn’t the book for you. In a world where the Valorian race conquers and enslaves the Herrani, most of the story is gradual strategic manipulation and spans themes of slavery, politics, and rebellion. It makes you question whose side you’re on, page by page. It is a beautifully deliberate and concisely written book. Best of all, there is a wonderful slow-burning relationship that I adored.