Ruined (Ruined #1)
Author: Amy Tintera
Publication: May 3rd, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Dystopian
Read: May 2016
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.
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.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I was surprised with how much I ended up liking this book. It’s full of action, magic, violence and blood. I’m such a huge fan of fantasy books and this one felt fresh and interesting. The world building is very methodical and it builds step by step, and such gray areas and themes. There are so many different twists and turns and thank the lord, the romance actually develops pretty slowly for a fantasy these days.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style helped develop the plot very well. It’s concise and well thought out. The dialogue is really entertaining even with the high pressure and tense situations that are also involved. The world building was great and in depth. I loved the way the author played with themes of what’s good and bad and the gray area that is life. The ending was firm but open enough to set up the next book in the series.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I am a huge fan of these characters. I feel like they have so much more to offer but this first book showed a lot of promise with character development. Em is intelligent and fierce. The way she thinks is always focused on strategy and how each situation can help her accomplish her goals. She’s determined and strong and yet stubborn as hell. Doesn’t that just sound like all of my favorite characters ever? I loved her development and how she starts to see the situations around her but never loses sight of her focus. The male main character got to me, he was sweet and nice and totally and completely blind to what was really going on in the kingdom he’s inheriting. I feel like his development was great! He became more conscious of his surroundings and was firm and determined in what he believes is right. Also, there are a few side characters in this book that I quite liked and there are hints of a hopeful awesome female friendship. There’s also diversity not only in race but also in sexual orientation and the best part was that it wasn’t a big deal! It just was and it was awesome. There’s great comradeship and friendship and I really really liked the cast of characters in this book, guys. Really.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I enjoyed it a lot more than I though I would.
The plot is intricate but it doesn’t seem like it at all. We follow Em, who is on a path toward revenge. She’s infiltrating a kingdom by marrying the prince in the hopes of getting inside secrets and the location of her kidnapped sister. Honestly, that seems so simple but there’s a lot more detail than you can see at first. The world building is really methodical. It’s not something that is explained word for word but there are clues within the main character’s perceptions that give you tid bits of where they are, how it looks and how the kingdoms interact with each other. You have to be paying attention to catch those things. It’s not something that will be spelled out for you in the form of a map or someone telling the story to you. It’s in those tiny details and thought processes that the character’s share. Even though there are only three different kingdoms, there’s a lot of power play going on and Tintera plays with the concept of good and bad and what that really means. The gray areas of war and of prejudice and how that shapes a person’s perception and what they stand for. Who is really the villain? I loved that you didn’t know who to root for or who to hate completely. It’s a constant shift which makes the plot really interesting. This book was a really good start but I can see so much more for the series. It has a lot of potential.
Em is great. She seems really cold and calculating at first. I mean she kills someone in the first chapter with practically no remorse to get where she wants to be. But she’s a well rounded character. Her personal motivations are clear and maybe they may not be the best intentions but she still has a conscious. There’s really no way to be “good” in the world she lives because all the lines are so blurred but she does her best. She does what she believes is the best for herself and for the people that are counting on her. I loved her attitude and how hard she was to crack under the pressure of the kingdom around her. I’m really looking forward to seeing how she develops throughout the series.
As for the side characters. Cas, the male main character, was really sweet. He’s a bit naive to life considering that he’s a prince but that made him weak. He’s blinded to the harshness of the rest of his world but I love how his development, even though it was influenced by someone else, pushed him to open his eyes to what was going on. Then there was Iria and I loveeddd her! She’s this really tough warrior chick who seems like a total hard ass but is actually a free thinker and kind when she wants to be. I loved the banter between her and Em and I hope their friendship develops more in the next few books. And lastly Olivia is a character that we see very briefly but she’s bat shit crazy and she’s gonna bring problems. I can almost guarantee it.
Overall, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. The premise seems very simple but the plot develops it further and it’s really entertaining and action packed as well as filled with twists and turns. The characters were interesting and complex but I’m still hoping to see more development from them. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series plays out.
So that’s it for this post! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. Let me know if I’ve picked your interest in reading it, I’d love to have more people to chat about it with! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!