Book Review: “The Winner’s Curse” (Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski


“The Winner’s Curse” (Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski (2014)

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Romance

Page Length: 455 pages (hardcover edition)


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. (description from Goodreads)


I really liked reading this book. It takes readers back in time to a somewhat foreign, but familiar world. The book bases the entire plot line on the phenomenon called “the winner’s curse”. It basically means that in an auction, the winner will tend to overpay. The results can be one of two things; the winner is worse of than before the value of the asset is less than the bidder anticipated. A lose-lose situation.

Our main character Kresrel is no stranger to this curse. She decides on a whim to bid at a slave auction and the results change her life. Krestel is daring, confident, and unlike the other women of her time. She doesn’t want to settle down or marry, she just wants to be free to live her own life and play the music that makes her so happy. However, being the daughter of a general, means that life doesn’t come so easily.

Krestrel and Arin at first seem like completely different people, but something draws the two together. The plot has lots of drama and action to keep you entertained. Krestel and Arin’s “forbidden relationship” definitely drives the story.

Final Verdict:

An entertaining book. I can’t wait to see how the story will continue. 5 out of 5 stars!


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