Book Review: The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

Oh no I’m falling behind on my book blogging schedule

I still gotta do Rapture, Fallen in Love, Unforgiven TTATT

This week shall be dedicated for more book blogging. Yes Joanne you can do this.

And my computer is now encrypted, so I’m currently using another computer the school loaned me. Yay! What news.


Name: The Winner’s Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR),
Bloomsbury (my edition)
Release Date: March 4, 2014; July 3rd, 2014 (Bloomsbury)


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.

Book Cover Comments

I think the cover is really elegant, and the aristocratic style-dress really contrasts with the simple and plain background, and brings out a recurring concept in the book. I also think it’s nice to see the model “interacting” with the book title. It’s a nice touch.

Inside the book, for the first few pages, they are horizontally layout-ed on full black pages. Those horizontal pages are a really nice touch.

The Actual Review

So the book’s very beginning started off a teeny bit confusing. But later on, things got more and more exciting. From the world building of the city that Kestrel lives in to her family background and where she stands in the society she’s in.

The temptation that was in Kestrel when she decided to buy Arin was a very interesting moment to watch. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen such a raw reflection of human nature in the books that I’ve been reading. The way one’s words form in your mind, grasping that very trigger that will lead you to the result that they are desiring.

He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.

The contrast of the society, of how the people of Kestrel took over Arin’s, who are the Herrans, because people have infinite desires to take over and to display their fit of power, so that their jealousies could be held back once they have what they want.

This book also touches a lot upon the way words work around people, about how to manipulate others with words, and how the truth and the lies can be mixed up together, making both unclear. It was also interesting to see how power can play a role in how people perceive words and give out a reaction. I thought that was really meaningful, and of course, reflects RL. I mean, why wouldn’t it?

The truth can deceive as well as a lie.

I super duper love Kestrel’s personality, the fact that she throws herself away when it comes to music, and makes her own strong standing when it comes to decisions her father desires to make. She knows what she has to sacrifice in order to protect those close to her, the people that she truly cares about. There are many large scale-tipping decisions in this book: for yourself, or for the other, and I never doubt Kestrel’s choices will bring out the best result.

“My soul is yours,” he said. “You know that it is.”

Romance. Please. The pushing and pulling agonising wait in this book, when it’s so close yet so far away again, oh my god. Like, the kiss happened, and yet because of the God Damn revelations (i love revelations its just TTATT), that relationship was pulled apart and I go asdfghjkl because asdfghjkl

“The Winner’s Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price.”

I also love how the inspiration of the book was actually through Marie’s friend talking about “The Winner’s Curse”. The starting up of this book is really fun to know, and at the same time knowing how true this “curse” is, and how much it can be seen in our daily lives. (yep such book review crap)

A must read and a great start to my year of 2017, filled with strategical and logical thinking, word playing, choices and romance.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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