The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374384678
Characteristics: 355 pages ;,22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 20, 2018

I personally really liked this book. I thought it was a really good read about politics, and on understanding others. I wouldn't recommend this book to those who like the mainstream romance, where everything is perfect at all times. But for those who like a doomed romance this is definitely the book.

Aug 21, 2017

It started off good. Then it got childish. I know that it is for Young Adults, however I would rate this book best for 9-12 year olds.

Apr 05, 2017

I really recommend this series! I'm even reading it for Book Club.

Feb 18, 2017

Pretty good read!

ArapahoeLesley Nov 22, 2016

A nice introduction to what promises to be a pretty good series.

Jul 28, 2016

Fantastic and well-written book. You won't be disappointed, once you pick up this book you won't be able to put it down!

Jul 04, 2016

This book was amazing! A friend suggested it to me, and I defiantly wasn't disappointed! Kestrel is a bit self centered at times, like when she orders her slaves around, but I like her overall, and the way she plays the piano is a unique part of her personality. Arin was also a cool character to read about, though I'm a bit confused about his past. Also, the point of view was a bit overwhelming for me a times, but I had no trouble understanding it. Overall, this book is really good and I defiantly would recommend it to others.

cmlibrary_jrobinson Jul 02, 2016

This is a novel of war, social status, and unexpected love. Rutkoski’s use of imagery and world-building will capture readers and leave them wanting to reach for the sequel at its conclusion.

Jan 15, 2016

I had high hopes for this book, what with all the rave reviews from hobby reviewers and professionals alike. It was slightly not quite as good as I thought it would be, but only slightly.

This book is considered to be a fantasy, but nothing magical or impossible really happens -- the world itself is just invented, based on the Roman Empire’s takeover of Greece. Although the worldbuilding was thorough and interesting, the two culture’s customs and beliefs could have been woven into the story even more. As it is, we get wars and duels and folktales of gods, (brief) histories of each empire and cultural attires. I can only hope there will be more worldbuilding in the second book.

The romance is develops over most of the book (no insta-love, thank goodness), yet it felt too fast and too slow at the same time. I wanted more Kestrel and Arin interactions, but not romantic ones -- just more of them getting to know each other because, as the weeks went by, we didn’t get as many conversations and such as we could have. It’s a shame because their situation is rife with tension and possibility. Each is a strong character faced with deep moral conflict and perhaps even deeper needs for themselves and their people. I would have rooted for the romance far more if they hadn’t grown to love each other over what seemed like relatively few interactions. Missed opportunities, I say.

The action takes a while to develop, as well, but there is something new and fascinating in most every chapter of this book. And once things start to go down, they go down. I don’t want to give too much away but *cue the violence.*

What might be the most perplexing and captivating aspect of this book is the dilemmas faced by both Kestrel and Arin. I can’t hate either of them, even though I hate some of the things that they do. I was forced to put myself in their shoes and ask “Is this wrong? What would I do in their situation?” The reason they are such likeable characters, despite their sometimes flawed morals, is that they are real people with real back stories, experiences, people they care about, values, and feelings. And they challenge all of these things about each other. They constantly re-evaluate their views and actions and try to compromise, but they live in a world that has to have a clear winner and a clear loser. Deciding which position they want to find themselves -- and the other -- in is more difficult than most any moral dilemma I can think of.

I cannot finish this review without saying that Kestrel is one of the best heroines I have read. She is not perfect, but she is strong. She is clever. She has a personality and conflicting desires. She is not annoying. Heroines that are not annoying are in short supply these days, so if you read this book, savour Kestrel.

I don’t want to give anything else away, but this is unique and compelling read. Big yes from me!

Oct 09, 2015

The Winner's Curse is exciting and intense and well-written! The action never stops. Do try it out, you will love it.

Kestrel and Arin, the two leads, are both well-developed, and their emotions feel natural. I completely sympathized with both of them. I want them to be together, but Rutkoski has twisted the situation so well that I don't want them to be together with these circumstances. I can't wait to continue following their adventures in the next book, please join me!

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jul 04, 2016

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Sep 23, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary
Jul 04, 2016

Kestrel, a seventeen year old girl, and a Generals daughter, buys a slave one day, for a high price. What Kestrel doesn't know is that the slave isn't who he seems, and is about to change her life forever, as well as many others.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top