The Winner’s Curse Blog Tour- Interview, Playlist & Giveaway (US/Canada)


If you follow me on any social media you would have heard of me raving about The Winner’s Curse. I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy and read it soon upon receiving. Once I dove into Rutkoski’s world and writing I was unable to leave. I sat in virtually one spot for an evening reading. I fell immediately in love with Aron and Kestrel and above all Marie Rutkoski’s writing.

It is my honor and pleasure to be featuring this title on my blog as well as being part of the blog tour. I will be sharing my love for this book in greater detail in the near future with my review but for now all you need to know is that this book is my favorite of 2014 and is one of my favorite books of all time.

About the Book:
The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1)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.

Interview with Marie Rutkoski:
What are some of your favorite books and influences on your writing?
Jane Austen in a huge favorite and a big influence on this book, in part because she is so attuned to how small details can covey so much. There’s plenty of action in The Winner’s Curse, I think—but not in the beginning. I told myself, though, that Austen was able to make a conversation over tea riveting, and that a secret glance in Pride and Prejudice is as good as a feast. That’s because we are reading her books for the emotional events. And so, similarly, the beginning of The Winner’s Curse is a lot about emotional shifts, and understandings. It has a quiet start…until Lots of Things Happen.

I also thought about the character of Emma. Emma is clever, but she is also blind, and Mr. Knightley is constantly trying to open her eyes. Arin is not Mr. Knightley, who cares for Emma and wants to help her. Arin despises Kestrel, and has good cause for it. It is his fury that compels him to force her to see things differently. What he doesn’t realize (not at first) is how her vulnerability to this– and her ability to change herself– is going to change him.

Henry James, too, is an influence because of how he likes to represent people in impossible situations, and characters who tend to be both so right and so very wrong.

Could you share some of your favorite star-crossed lovers in fiction?
Well, we always think of Shakespeare first, right? At least I do. Romeo and Juliet. Desdemona and Othello. The key thing to remember in the star-crosses here is the damage done by a clash of cultures. A good star-cross isn’t just about two people who can’t be together because of REASONS, but about how these people are victims of social problems that are not their fault. The lovers have inherited these problems, and they may perpetuate them, but we can see their innocence as well as their guilt.

How did you go about about researching military strategy for The Winner’s Curse
I read Thucydides’s The History of the Peloponnesian War, which was great for some practical details—like how to defeat certain kinds of siege engines—but perhaps turned out to be most useful for thinking about how to make people go to war, and how to sustain them through it. How Thucydides represents the emotions surrounding why people fight was really crucial.

In terms of actual strategy, I consult my husband if there is any kind of battle involving calvary. He was serious about horse riding for many years, and did his military service in France.

Battles sometimes become a game in my head. No real lives are involved, so I can think about it as a puzzle: here are a few things I need to have happen, here are my principal players, here are their assets and drawbacks. A bit of mental chess.

But…the thing is, my father was in the army and my youngest brother served, too, until a final tour in Afghanistan. And so, although this isn’t quite what you’re asking, what I want to say is that the most important thing to me when writing about war is considering how a soldier or general might feel. We know that we ask soldiers to risk their lives, but do we think as often about the cost to them when they take someone’s life? What are the ethical questions involved, the fears, and the costs?

Do you write to music if so what type?
I don’t listen to music as I write. Impossible. But I like to listen to music while I run, and to think about some aspect of a book I’m working on. I sometimes will listen to one song on repeat. Here is a playlist of songs that I did that with for The Winner’s Curse (caveat: though there are gorgeous male voices below, I don’t think of any of them as Arin’s).


  • “Sigh No More,” Mumford and Sons.
  • “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” The National
  • “Half Light II (No Celebration),” Arcade Fire
  • “Dancing on My Own,” Robyn
  • “A+E,” Goldfrapp
  • “Limit to Your Love,” James Blake
  • “If It’s True,” Anais Mitchell feat. Justin Vernon and Greg Brown
  • “Green,” Brandon James (but a live, acoustic version a friend gave me that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. I suspect it’s bootlegged. I don’t care for the original recorded version).

You didn’t ask for this, but here’s one song I’ve been listening to and thinking about for the sequel to The Winner’s Curse:
“Take Care,” Florence + the Machine. It’s a cover of Drake’s song, and the version I’m listening to:

The Winner’s Curse is available for Pre-order and will release March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux

You can win your very own hardcover and swag (bookmarks, stickers, and eyeshadow). US/Canada only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Marie for your beautiful responses to my questions.
The Winner’s Curse Blog Tour Schedule can be located here.


  1. says

    I love this post 😀 Thank you Marie and Kristen for sharing. <3 Ahh. I really need to get the time to re-read The Winner's Curse soon. It's such a perfect book. And oh! I did not know there were bookmarks.. SO GORGEOUS. They look amazing 🙂

  2. Miss Wisp says

    Do Katniss and Peeta count?

    Can’t get over this cover. SO GORGEOUS! Thanks so much for this giveway, Been hearing great things about this book!

  3. says

    My favorite star-crossed lovers? Um, none because the only “real” star-crossed lovers I know is Romeo and Juliet and I don’t like them together. 😛

  4. Alyn Y says

    My favorite star-crossed lovers are the Butterfly Lovers. It’s a Chinese legend. I have never read the legend itself but I have watched a few movies based on the legend and it’s always so cute to see them fall in love and then depressing when they can’t be with each other.

  5. says

    Eeeek! There’s so much hype and excitement for this book that I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The interview was very interesting and I loved learning more about the book and the author. Thanks for the giveaway, and this was a lovely post 🙂

  6. says

    I’m a traditionalist in that Romeo and Juliet are on the top of my favorite star-crossed lovers list, probably always will be 🙂
    This was a great interview with the author and I keep seeing The Winners Curse coming up with rave reviews …. I’m dying to get my hands on a copy! Can not wait to read it.
    Thank so much for the opportunity.

  7. says

    I preordered my copy a while back and I cannot wait till I can get my hands on it!
    What a fantastic interview, Kristen! Thank you so much to you and Marie!

    • says

      Aimee–I think you’ll love it. I can’t wait until everyone can read it because I want to hear all the flails. It is totally worth the (now short) wait

  8. Amber hsu says

    Gah! The cover is SO pretty… and the summary really interesting. I’ve been really looking forward to this one, ever since book bloggers have been posting suck beautiful pictures of the packages the arcs came in….. so jealous… I’ve heard its a favorite of many people, and I’m hoping I’ll love it too! As for star-crossed lover? I don’t think I actually have any.., I tend to dislike those kinds of relationships~

    • says

      Hopefully the starcrossed lover angle in the book won’t bother you since you don’t tend to enjoy them. It is such a beautiful book and the writing is so good. I hope you love it!

  9. says

    I am SO excited to read this one. Everyone I know who has read it just loves it.

    My favorite star crossed lovers are probably the OG Romeo and Juliet… Possibly as played by Leo and Claire. Is that blasphemy?

  10. says

    I’m so excited for this book! Great interview, ladies! It’s very classic oriented which is an area I fail in haha. I went to a french school so classic literature wasn’t part of my life. I know huh? >.< I do think this playlist is a win!

    • says

      Thank you Giselle! French school—very interesting. Have you read/seen the Austen books/movies? When growing up Romeo & Juliet and Othello were some of my very favorite stories.

  11. says

    So excited about this book! Forbidden love, conflict, action–what more could you ask for? Fabulous interview with Marie Rutkoski, and I am really looking forward to reading The Winner’s Curse. Thanks for this, Kristen!

  12. says

    Favorite star-crossed lovers?
    I’ll have to go with Romeo & Juliet for an overall winning couple, but I’m also thinking about Evan and Cassie in The 5th Wave…and Cathy & Heathcliff too….

  13. says

    I love this interview! Jane’s tea conversations ARE riveting, and Marie managed to make conversations over Bite and Sting just as compelling to read. I love the influences she wrote about, and it’s so interesting to hear her discuss the military strategy as well. All so well done in the book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • says

      Yes! I was so impressed with how she was able to make every aspect of the book so incredibly engaging regardless of what was going on and amount of action. Just an amazing book and written so beautifully.

  14. Kayla DeGroote says

    I love this interview! Great questions and even better answers! I haven’t read The Winner’s Curse yet (sob) but everyone seems to love it so I can’t wait for it to come out so I CAN finally read it!! <3

  15. Danielle D says

    I am looking foward to this book, I’ve been hearing some great things about it, I even had it recomended to me at a book signing last year. You asked some great questions for the interview too. Can’t really think of my favorite star-crossed lovers.

  16. says

    Love Dorian and Caelena from Throne of Glass though I don’t know if they’re still flirting, but that would’ve been an interesting relationship.

    Aline and Mal too! From Shadow and Bone, because they’re good friends but everything else tears them apart.

    Thank you:)

  17. says

    My favorite star crossed lovers? Well, I loved Lancelot and Guinevere. Depending on the account you read, it is really heartbreaking. I still love Romeo and Juliet.

    More recent books- Hmmm, I stick to HEA’s. GRIN 🙂 Or at least by the third book they have an HEA!

    I can’t wait to read this one! I have it preordered (unless I win it!!)

  18. Leah says

    This book has been tops on my to read list for awhile!! I don’t know if they count as star-crossed lovers, but right now, my favorite might be Katniss and Peeta.

    • Chela says

      Oooo, I was scanning to see if anyone had put my current fav lovers, but Katsa and Po are dear to my heart too! So excited to read Winner’s Curse!

  19. Amanda T says

    Hmmm I have so many! I guess Lake and Will from Slammed have to be pretty highup there along with Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy.

  20. Rachel S says

    I am SO freaking excited about this book. I mean with a cover and a description like that, how could you not be?? My absolute fav star crossed lovers would be Katniss and Peeta for sure!

  21. says

    I’ve read before that Marie’s looked back to Thucydides’s ancient text on battle strategy and I just think that is SO FLIPPING AWESOME. The history/ humanities geek in me did a fist pump when I read that:) This is such a great post–I really like this author–she seems very grounded and SMART. TWC is one of my fave books of the year and I’m going to start her Shadow Society while I await the former’s sequel 🙂 Great interview!

  22. says

    I am reading this right now and it is SO good. Seriously everything I look for and love in a book. Thank you so much for the chance to win a hardcover and some swag. I loved the interview and also love that Florence + The Machine song! 🙂

  23. Jaime Lester says

    That is a tough one… I would say Sophie and Archie from the Hex Hall series. Varen and Isobel from the Nevermore series. Noah and Mara from Mara Dyer series. Willow and Alex from the Angel series. There are more floating around in my head, but I don’t want to bore you! Thank you so much for the chance to win this one. That cover is stunning, and the book just sounds absolutely phenomenal. I can’t wait to read it!.

  24. Danielle D says

    I don’t know if this counts as star-crossed lovers, but I love how Anne and Gilbert are at odds for so long (at least on Anne’s part!), but they finally, FINALLY get together! Thanks for having the giveaway!

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