Review of The Winner's Curse

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 was really excited to read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. The cover is so amazing and everyone that read it has raved. The author came up with the idea for the book when a friend explained that a "winner's curse" is how the winner of an auction has also lost, because he or she has won by paying more than what the majority of bidders have decided the item is worth. Essentially the book was winning and losing at the same time.

  • Kestrel and Arin were really strong main characters (with pretty sweet names). It was hard to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes because of the lifestyle differences between their two cultures.
  • Kestrel really gets a chance to walk in Arin's shoes when the tables turn.
  • The world-building was really interesting. I enjoyed the culture and the competition between the two countries.
  • Kestrel needs to choose between marrying or being in the military, I think that would be a really hard choice, especially when she was so gifted with military tactics.

  • The back and forth with Arin was a bit much. Yeah there should be slow-burn in the romance, but this was torture. 
  • The book was interesting, but the climax was only really near the end. I guess it left me hanging for more.

Kestrel stopped to take the earrings from Jess and slip them into her friend’s ears. “Then wear these to the next society dinner. Tell everyone you paid an outrageous sum, and they will believe they’re true jewels. Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”


  1. I've been hearing amazing things about this one, so I hope it works out for me! I like a slow-burn romance, but sometimes they can be dragged out!

  2. I have been meaning to buy this book for awhile, just not sure if I should wait till paperback is out. But all the raving reviews are making this wait very hard to endure...I have seen many reviews mention how The Winner's Curse is a very much character-driven book and I really like that, so it's nice to know you agree with that as well. Hopefully I will get to read this soon :)

  3. I loved The Winners Curse so much. Definitely an interesting concept, and the world building was amazing, (though to be honest, even if it wasn't I probably wouldn't care because I loved Kestrel and Arin too much) which YES. The slow burn romance, I love them more, though it did annoy me a little, but not too much, so I don't have much of a complaint there. But, really, I just loved everything about it (even that ending, though it's killer). So can't wait for the sequel, though it's probably going to be a loooooooong one. :(

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  4. I'm pretty sure I've left random reviews on your page over the times but I wanted to tell you that I really like your blog and I've nominated it for the Liebster Award. This link will take you to my post about it if you're up for it.

  5. I've heard many great things about this book! The cover is beautiful and all positive reviews definitely make me want to read it. I like slow burn romance, so I hope it won't bother me that much.

  6. I just got this book yesterday from the library! I'm going to read as soon as I'm down with The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas!
    Thanks for your thoughts and review xoxo
    Book Hangovers Blabs Books

  7. I LOVED this one! Kestrel and Arin are just awesome. And I hated that ending so much! Haha, their romance was practically torture though :P
    Can't wait for the second book!

  8. Super curious to read this one - and in fact after a trusted recommendation, I bought it this weekend! ;)

  9. I really need to read this book. The cover seems very similar to These Broken Stars. Also, I nominated you for the Liebster Award, go here for more:

  10. This is one of those books that I'm on the fence about. I feel like I would end up feeling rather "meh" towards it. The cover's really pretty though.

    Still, I look forward to giving this one a try. Slow burn romance? I want to see how that one plays out!

  11. I've seen The Winner's Curse being talked a lot about on review blogs right now-I probably should add it to my tbr list :)

    Found your blog through the Sunday Post meme and now following!
    Finley Jayne

  12. I have heard so many great things about this book, and have been meaning to read it. I'm glad you liked it, and hope I get to read it soon!

  13. This book looks so great. I know what you mean about the almost too slow, too drawn out romance. I have seen a couple of those lately myself and they do feel a bit like torture.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  14. Slow burn romance? I just read a novel that has it and I found it awesome! I really hope that I like this one. The cover is absolutely gorgeous as well. Great review!

  15. Ooooh this has been on the list for a week or so now I see it everywhere! It always gets good reviews and yours is no exception! I'm no the biggest fan of overly slow burning romances though so I'll have to see how I get on!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

  16. I've been looking forward to this book! I'm so very glad you enjoyed it. I'm picking it up on my next trip to the bookstore! Thanks for the amazing review.

  17. Great review. <3 I really loved this book. I'm sorry you didn't fully love it, but I'm glad you still enjoyed it :D
    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog a while ago. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  18. I'm sorry that you didn't love this one like everyone else. Still, 4 stars is pretty good. :)

  19. I've been seeing this book everywhere! I need to read it. I love that you thought the main characters were strong; I enjoy character-driven books. And I agree, the cover is gorgeous. :)

    --Sam @ SIK Book Reviews


I'd love to hear what you thought of the book or others you think I will like! Please share your thoughts! Thank you for the thought, but I am not participating in awards.