Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 4th 2014
Where to Buy:
Barnes & Noble|Amazon
Add to 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.
Do you ever read a book and wonder — is it me or am I just burned out on the genre? As I read through this very popular story with it’s absolutely gorgeous cover, something struck me as, well, meh. Maybe I’m burned out on high fantasy plots. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for yet another strong female lead who gets tricked by a male character. Maaaaaaaybe, I’m that outlying data point on the chart once again.
The book showed promise in the synopsis, but somewhere in the first part of the book, I honestly stopped caring. This has been compared to Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy. Yeah, not even close. If I had to narrow it down, I would say that Kestrel just wasn’t an interesting character. She was predictable and very two-dimensional. And the political intrigue that is always at the heart of these plots didn’t leave my heart thumping. The tension between her and Arin? Yawn-worthy. And what’s with that game that they were playing? Bite and Sting? Honestly, I am sick and tired of actual games being used to drive the plot (I’m looking at you, Jenny Han’s P.S. I Still Love You).
There are plenty of five-star reviews on goodreads which will tell you why the readers loveloveloved this story. As for me, I’ll stick to The Grisha trilogy or Mary E. Pearson’s The Remnant Chronicles trilogy, both of which have much better written characters and plot.