Author: Amy Tintera
Series: Ruined Series
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)The summary of Ruined from Goodreads:
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.
I think it can be difficult to take an idea that’s been done many times and make it new. The basic idea behind Ruined isn’t incredibly new. However, Tintera takes that idea and creates a new world around it with characters I loved.
Em is an interesting character. She’s infiltrating the royal court on the hunt for revenge. Her parents have been murdered and his sister kidnapped. Em wants to do to the royal family what was done to her. She’s been working in secret to forge an alliance that will bring down the royal family of Lera. Everything she does is with that goal in mind.
But she’s also determined to prove something. Born without the magic that blessed her mother and sister, she’s had to find others ways to fight. She can’t rely on the magic that marked Ruined as barbarians. She’s trying to destroy Lera, but she’s also trying to prove that she’s worth something, even without magic.
Casimir is a decent love interest. I really liked how Tintera didn’t make him oppose his parents immediately. He may not have completely shared his parents’ views on the Ruined, but he still thought less of them than he should. This meant he could grow and come to understand things from a different perspective. It also showed how ignorance can exist in many forms. True ignorance is one thing. Many people are born ignorant of certain things and only through exposure can they learn. Casimir grows out of this kind of ignorance as he comes to understand the Ruined point of view.
I think my only issue with the story is I would have liked a little more development of Em’s character. She already knows who she is at the beginning of the novel, and while she does grow some, she remains pretty similar at the end of the novel. I do think there is some setup for her personal development in the next novel though, so I’m not too worried about it.
This is definitely a fantasy novel to have on your radar. Em is a little bloodthirsty at times, but it works. It’s a fantastic start to a new series that I’m looking forward to reading!
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Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.