The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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

I put off reading this book for a while, and as soon as I was a few chapters in I regretted waiting so long. The plot is unlike anything I’ve ever read. The story is unique and fills the reader with so many feeling. I felt so scared, but so much hope. I felt empathy, then too much disgust. The juxtaposed feelings were completely unexpected, and really helped make this book for me.

Kestrel is in town with her friend, when they stumble inside a slave auction. The stars align, and Kestrel feels compelled to purchase the special slave that the auctioneer had chosen for her. I soon found out how special this slave was, what his agenda really is, and how important it was that Kestrel bought him.

Kestrel took a little warming up for me to like her. Basically, once she showed how much she cared about Enai, I started liking her. She’s the daughter of a Valorian general, but lacks any real fighting skills. She does have an amazing talent for music, even though it’s considered a slave job/hobby. She proves she has a big selfless heart countless times, and she will make you love her by the end of the book.

The slave, Arin, doesn’t act much like a slave. This is mostly due to his hidden agenda and not being born a slave, but some of his (and Kestrel’s) actions weren’t that believable. In the end, I loved that he was true to the Herrani people, but even more true to Kestrel.

The pier scene blew me away. It really showcases what people who are in love will do for one another. It doesn’t matter the circumstances, or any change of events; love will make people do things they never thought they’d be able to do. This really is the underlining theme for this whole book, but the pier scene was the pinnacle moment that broke my heart and then proceeded to mend it.

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