Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski (book review) – a body is bought, the heart plots revolution

book cover of Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski published by Farrar Straus GirouxShe loves music more than war – not the Valorian way.
He seeks bloodshed and revenge – not tastefully Herrani.
Master and slave, locked in a struggle that may destroy everything.

Somehow it’s no accident that a noted singer is being sold just as Kestrel and her best friend Jess arrive at the slave market in the newly-conquered Herrani city – or that being a slave in the Valorian General’s home is worth more to Arin than his own freedom. But love has a way of changing the best-plotted plans…

When the price is too low, the cost of keeping your purchase may be too high – that’s “the winner’s curse” and Kestrel will never have a chance to forget it.

This “Bridge of Snow” short story prequel at will whet your appetite for Kestrel and Arin’s brutal, brilliant world, then chill your heart when you realize what’s about to unfold.

It’s publication day for The Winner’s Curse, so ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore now.

In this land so much like ancient Greece, can love conquer all?

Book info: The Winner’s Curse (Winner’s Trilogy, book 1)  / Marie Rutkoski. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014.   [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Soldier or wife – the only options open to Valorian young women. But the General’s daughter Kestrel lives for her music, a waste of time in their war-hardened society.

Death or slavery – all that remains for the Herrani people after the General’s successful invasion. Arin vows to give the occupiers a taste of their own barbaric ways.

Buy or sell – Kestrel didn’t plan to purchase a slave who could sing, to keep him when he refused.

Honor – the Valorians admire it above everything else.
Revenge – the Herrani want it totally, completely.

Win or lose – Kestrel can sense the right cards and the wrong play in Bite and Sting, but no gamble is the right one when she realizes how she feels about Arin, how he feels about her.

Masters, slaves, romance, rebellion – perhaps the gods of this ancient land have raised the stakes and are betting against either side winning…. (One of 6,000 books recommended on

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