The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse

3.96 (104,718 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.96 (104,718 ratings by Goodreads)
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THE FIRST BOOK IN THE HEART-STOPPING WINNER'S TRILOGY: an irresistible story of forbidden romance and class warfare

'Every line in The Winner's Curse is beautifully written. The story is masterfully plotted. The characters' dilemmas fascinated me and tore at my heart... I loved it. I want more.' Kristin Cashore, author of the Graceling Realm books

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, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. Kestrel has other ideas.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in Arin, a young slave up for auction. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him - and for a sensational price that sets the society gossips talking. 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 him is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

The first novel in a stunning trilogy, The Winner's Curse is a story of romance, rumours and rebellion, where dirty secrets and careless alliances can be deadly - and everything is at stake.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 27mm | 307g
  • Bloomsbury YA
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1408858207
  • 9781408858202
  • 67,967

Review quote

Every line in The Winner's Curse is beautifully written. The story is masterfully plotted. The characters' dilemmas fascinated me and tore at my heart. This book gave me a rare and special reading experience: I never knew what was going to happen next. I loved it. I want more. * Kristin Cashore, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Graceling Realm books * Like any epic page-turner worth its salt, Rutkoski's richly imagined world is full of dynamic repartee, gruesome battle scenes, and shifting alliances. A high-stakes cliffhanger will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book * Publishers Weekly, starred review * Rich characterization, exquisite world building and rock-solid storytelling make this a fantasy of unusual intelligence and depth . . . Breathtaking, tragic and true * Kirkus, starred review * A forbidden romance. The romance is heartstoppingly lovely and admittedly steamy . . . but the raising of stakes and the reluctance of the couple to give up their respective cause, even as they confess their love for each other, lends their relationship a complexity not often seen in the genre . . . A last-minute compromise between the lovers secures a sequel, and fans of Kristin Cashore and Robin Lefevers will be pleased to have a new romance to follow * BCCB, starred review * Faultlessly written, home to a rich cast of mesmerising characters, and possesses just the right amount of intrigue, romance and emotion to make the story one that leaves an impression. My mind is still reeling from those final few pages * Realm of Fiction * Rich with detail, tension, and true feeling - and that goes for both the plot, and the characters. Everything about it is just incredible * There Were Books Involved * Full of high society balls, lies and deceit, stolen moments in secret places, as well as being absolutely beautifully written, The Winner's Curse is a brilliant first book in a new trilogy that everyone should read! * Swept Away by Books * The hype is right - The Winner's Curse is a beautiful, heartbreaking must-read * Icey Books *
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About Marie Rutkoski

MARIE RUTKOSKI is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Shakespeare, children's literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Marie can tie a good double figure-eight knot and is very fond of perfume, tea and excellent bread and butter.
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Rating details

104,718 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 34% (35,900)
4 38% (40,026)
3 19% (20,165)
2 6% (5,845)
1 3% (2,782)

Our customer reviews

In Short - I really liked Kestrel and her strong mind - A fresh and unique read for me - Thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this new and different world from what I know and lived in. In Long Kestrel is a character I pretty much liked instantly. She is such a strong minded young lady who has compassion for others but at the same time wonâ??t take any rubbish from anyone. I always wish I was a bit more like someone like Kestrel. The Winnerâ??s Curse isn't a book I would necessarily say is action packed. A lot goes on and it most definitely kept my attention throughout the book but the storyline is built on gradually throughout the book and the characters become stronger and more developed with every page. I really liked this as it felt like I was personally getting to know them, after all you donâ??t suddenly know everything about someone. I liked the little twists and unique things to this book. A girl buys a guy as a slave? Donâ??t think I have read a book with a slave for a long time! The whole book just felt very fresh to me and it was just what I needed and in a way, totally unexpected. ! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know about the world in which Kestrel lived in, it enthralled me. I am not usually a sucker for descriptions and can get bored easily if something is described too much but I really feel this got the right balance between not enough descriptions and too much to the point where it gets boring. Final Thoughts The Winnerâ??s Curse really does have a bit of everything; romance, uniqueness, fighting, action and of course it keeps you hanging on for the next pageshow more
by Jodie Lane
This book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought it was going to be some Romeo and Juliet forbidden lovefest but it wasn't. OK there was some forbidden love but that's not even what the book is about. All the characters in this story are fantastic and real, I either loved them or hated them, there are no characters I felt meh! about. Kestrel is such a strong willed and intelligent young women who wants nothing more than to choose her own fate and to not live the life her father or society would choose for her. I loved that she is no wilting flower but is willing to stand up and fight for what she believes in, even if it means getting in trouble or killed. Arin, the slave that Kestrel buys on a whim, is another strong-willed character. It took a little while for me to warm up to him, but once I did, I loved him, even when I didn't totally agree with his actions. The romance between these two is so beautiful and complex and not at all instalove. Neither of them forget that they master/slave and on opposite sides of a war and so don't let their feelings get in the way of doing what is right for their countries. At times I would get frustrated with the two of them and yell at my kindle, "just get together, already", but still, the way their relationship plays out is quite satisfying. The setting of the novel is like historical fiction meets light fantasy and I loved all the historicalness of it - balls and sweeping gowns, gas lights, horsedrawn carriages and duals to the death. The world building was a bit sparse, as I we only get a limited view of the world threw the characters but I am sure we will see more in the following books. I am absolutely going to be getting the next book as soon as it comes out, especially after that ending. If you love your historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and romance with strongwilled characters, then I definitely recommend this more
by Natalie Johnson
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and Netgalley.) 17-year-old Kestrel is the daughter of a distinguished General, in a world where her fatherâ??s empire has taken over and enslaved another. When Kestrel buys a slave at an auction, she doesnâ??t realise quite what she has done until it is too late. Who is the slave? And why is he plotting against Kestrel? This was an okay story, but it dragged in places. Kestrel was an interesting character, and I liked her intelligence. I liked how her strengths were in planning and knowledge rather than fighting, and I loved how she found clever ways to turn a situation to her advantage. The storyline had a lot of peaks and troughs; some parts were really good, whilst other bits were boring. I did like the little twists we got here and there, and I liked the concept of â??the winnerâ??s curseâ??, and how that was tied in to the story. Unfortunately though the slow bits ruined this book for me. There was some romance, but it was both obvious and sudden, and I didnâ??t really like it. To go from nothing to love with a snap of the fingers was a little strange, and I didnâ??t see how they had suddenly decided they loved each other. The ending was quite good, but it felt like it was a long time coming. Without the slow parts this book could have been amazing, but with them it was only okay. Quite disappointing really. Overall; okay story, but had its slow moments. 6.5 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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