Ruined: Book One
Written by Amy Tintera
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen
ARC received for review
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A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.Seeing as that is a very long synopsis and is self explanatory, I don't think that I'll have to add my own little tid bit so I think I'm just going to hop right into my review for this little beauty! There were some things that I REALLY enjoyed about Ruined, and some things that just tweaked me the wrong way so there's definitely a so-so feeling from me at the moment about this book.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
The writing was good. I greatly enjoyed how easy it was to read Ruined. Amy Tintera has this way of making things simple - but kind of underdone. With fantasy sometimes authors can get way too complex, sometimes so complex that it detracts from the story. This was not the case. I could follow along quite easily, and the book flowed incredibly well which made for a quick read. There was no vast world or complex web of plots. It was very to the point, which amounted to weak worldbuilding, but has just enough to give readers a basic idea of the setting and history.
That being said, there could have been way more than what we're given. Yes, for once I slightly enjoyed not being bombarded with the history of *this* kingdom, and *these* people but in the same breath, I'm a sucker for a heavily painted world. And with Ruined we're given the bare minimum to be quite honest: an evil King decides to slaughter the Ruined (those who posses magical abilities). The Ruined queen has two daughters: one with powers, one without. The Ruined must flee while the magicless Princess must thwart the evil King, and save her sister. The book really revolved around only two Kingdoms: Lera and Ruina even though we're not told much about either.
"No one feared Emelina Flores, the useless daughter of the most powerful queen Ruina had ever known.
But they would."
Exciting plot, but little to no challenge for our main characters. Let's be honest, the plot sounds bad ass. A girl must go undercover, marry a prince, free her people and take down an evil royal family? Sign me the hell up, right? Or so I thought. I was intrigued, I basically read this book for the plot. But Em (our MC) barely struggles. She gets in a fight? She wins. She marries an unknown prince? She ends up falling for the nice prince. She wants to know top secrets? All she has to do is ask. Things are too convenient and given freely. I like to have heart palpitations while I read, especially when characters are in a hot zone - sadly there were no sweaty palms with this one.
The characters were okay - but not great. Em was your typical badass. She can fight, she can scheme, she even has a magical sidekick named Aren. Cas was so nice, he had very little faults, basically a Gary Sue - unrememberable but had some witty humor (I have faith he'll get more interesting in book two for sure now than he can spread his wings). I don't have much to say about them which probably isn't a great thing. What I want to talk about is the King and Queen of Lera (the ones who have ordered the death of the Ruined people). These two are supposed to be baddies (I think?) but they were not scary at all. Laughable really. Empty, copy and pasted villains.
>>>>> The sister, Olivia holds great promise though, she gave me a few chills. MAKE HER BAD.
BLOOD AND CARNAGE One of my favorite things about Ruined, which made it standout was that Amy is not scared to get her characters hands dirty. Within the first few pages Em is already bathed in the blood of her enemies. There is torture and death and I just found it refreshing to see the gritty side of fantasy. I wish more authors would do this. It really brings to light this inner conflict of who's right and who's wrong. I can't wait for more of this in book two.
The ending sold me on the fact that I will happily read the sequel. I do believe that this will be a story that gets better with the next books. It wasn't perfect and it definitely had some flaws but I really did enjoy it regardless. I'm hopping that Tintera will make things more of a challenge as that was my biggest issue with Ruined. But overall I'm strangely excited for book two. It wasn't astounding but at the end of the day it was a fun read.
reading, possibly eating. maybe sleeping.