Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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Impossible choices, dangerous relationships, and games with deadly consequences abound within the pages of Marie Rutkoski’s luscious and romantic new saga, The Winner’s Curse.

winner's curse, theAs 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.

The Winner’s Curse is all about the twists and turns, and Rutkoski cleverly balances her alternating-POVs through this unexpected landscape. Rutkoski has built a really intriguing world, with hints of places familiar to our own history — but with just enough “other” to exist in a fantasy realm. Still, without bogging down the reader with heavy-handed exposition, Rutkoski gives the reader a sense of understanding about this world, and where it has come from.

Likewise, she has crafted intriguing and refreshingly original characters, who make the clever and page-turning plot line all the more delightful to follow. The story follows an unexpected path, but the ending will simply leave readers anxious for more. (And there is more! The Winner’s Curse is the first in a new series, so rest easy – Rutkoski has plenty in store.)

To top off this fantastic world, excellent characters, and captivating plot, Rutkoski writes with a lusciousness that makes the prose itself mesmerizing.

The Winner’s Curse is in stores March 4th.

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