cover image The Winner’s Curse

The Winner’s Curse

Marie Rutkoski. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-38467-8

Fans of Rutkoski’s Kronos Chronicles will devour this spellbinding first book in a trilogy about a pair of star-crossed lovers in a society marred by class warfare. When 17-year-old Kestrel, daughter of an esteemed Valorian general, pays too steep a price for a Herrani slave at auction, the audacious maneuver reveals more than just a lapse in judgment. What Kestrel doesn’t know is that Arin is really a spy for Herrani rebels plotting to overthrow the Valorian empire. On equally deceptive footing, Arin manipulates Kestrel’s trust to mine her for military secrets while Kestrel uses Arin to deflect attention from unwanted suitors. As their relationship unwittingly evolves from master and servant into one of guarded mutual respect (and blush-worthy sexual tension), the two are torn between loyalty to their peoples and traditions and a love that can never be realized. 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. Ages 12–up. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Mar.)