Anyway, Dr. Rutkoski was a lovely person, and by the fourth time I heard her talk about the book and her inspiration for it, I was hooked. She also talked about throwing knives and busted fish tanks, and who wouldn't like that.
The Winner's Curse is WONDERFUL. It's fast paced and interesting and the first time the two primary characters meet is at least a little different. A little in that it takes place at a slave auction and one of them is the slave. The rest is kinda the usual. You know that Arin is not what he seems and you hope, along with him, that he is able to balance his loyalties in a way that work out for everyone. Obviously, that can't happen in the first book. The author is an excellent world- builder and the writing is great, which is good because I hold Professor Rutkoski to an absurdly high standard given that she teaches English.
I have already requested the second book in the series from the library with a plan to own the whole trilogy for my own shelves. I hope that I have the opportunity to hear her speak about her books, again. I look forward to hearing her updated thoughts about the story as well as her thoughts about the controversy surrounding the publisher's decision to change the cover art to show Kestrel in fighting clothes. I kid you not, it's apparently a thing. Kestrel is "known for her strategy not her fighting" is one argument I've heard against the new cover. But she's also not know for being in a froo froo dress... but whatever. Both formal dress AND bad-ass military chick covers are overplayed and underwhelming, in my opinion.
The Winner's Curse is an actual economic concept. It's the idea that if you win an item by overbidding for it, you have the item but at too high a cost. Kestrel does, indeed, overpay for Arin. But the farther reaching consequences of having him in her life are much greater.