Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles
Rating:
 ★★★★

DeStefano’s first series, The Chemical Garden, was a meh series for me. It just didn’t have the impact and wow factor I thought it would. I did like DeStefano’s writing style, though, which is why I gave Perfect Ruin a chance. It was worth it. Perfect Ruin pulled me right in and I had a hard time putting it down.

Morgan lives on Internment, the floating city in the sky. Everyone there is told to stay away from the edge and to be the best citizens they can be. It’s not enough for Morgan though. She wonders what the ground is like and what else there is to the world. She’s not content with what she’s told; she wants to know more. Her family has a black cloud hanging over their heads because Morgan’s brother Lex is what’s called a jumper. He tried to go off the edge. When he failed, he not only changed his life, but the lives of his entire family.

I liked Morgan. She’s a very relatable girl, with thoughts and dreams that any teen would have. She has a betrothed, a best friend, and a family. She’s smart and pretty. She seems to have everything someone on Internment would want, but she knows there’s more to the world and she can’t help my daydream about it. She’s brave and levelheaded, wanting to do what’s best for the group, although she does have her moments when she doesn’t think things all the way through.

I’m interested in seeing how DeStefano handles the romance side of things. I can see it going a couple ways and I know which one I would like to see. I’m going to place my trust in her, though, and hope she does what her characters need. I am loving Basil, though. He’s there for Morgan and believes in her when she stops believing in herself. He seems to truly care for her because he wants to, not because he was told to.

It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here. This is a concept I haven’t read in quite this way before. Yes, the idea of an isolated society existing without contact from the outside world is an idea that has been written before, but not in quite this way. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but not so much of one that I wanted to throw my book against the wall. It leaves an amazing setup for the next novel.

Perfect Ruin is a fantastic beginning to another DeStefano series. The world she has created is amazing and I’m already invested in what happens to her characters. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Burning Kingdoms.

If Perfect Ruin sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Sever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden series
Pages: 371 pages hardcover/paperback, 384 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the first two books of this series. Pieces didn’t feel right and some felt a little forced. I wasn’t really a fan of the Rhine and Gabriel romance and I wasn’t sure DeStefano would be able to wrap things up in a way I liked.

Sever was nothing like I expected. I thought I knew how I felt about everyone and every situation Rhine had gone through. DeStefano completely turned it all over and had me feeling things I never thought I would. She expertly wrote a story that shows that most people are not completely good, nor are they completely evil. Motivations can cloud judgements and what one person views as right, another can view as wrong.

Sever is not a book that focuses on romance, and I’m thankful for that. It focuses on character and looking at life in different ways. It looks at love and how it helps and hurts, how love can be different things to different people, and how love can move people to do things they wouldn’t do before.

So much happens in Sever, there is so much revealed, that as I got closer and closer to the end, I wasn’t sure how the story would be able to resolve. The last pages are touching, reflective and perfect.

The Chemical Garden series started out a little shaky for me. It felt disjointed and a little rough. Sever is by far the best book of the series. It is heart-wrenching at times, full of hope in the darkest times, and every other page has a new revelation. I’m glad the focus was on the characters instead of the romance. It wrapped the series up the only way it could have ended. I’m looking forward to reading more of DeStefano’s writings in the future.

If Sever sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
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Fever by Lauren DeStefano

I liked pieces of this book and I disliked parts of this book. It took me a little while to get through, since I only had a couple hours at most each day to read, and maybe that got in the way a little of being able to fully enjoy this. It just felt like there wasn’t much progress and I had a hard time connecting with the characters.

I’m still not a huge fan of Rhine as a character. Once she breaks free of the mansion, it becomes a focus of her thoughts, and she even refuses to take off her wedding ring; the last major thing tying her to the marriage with Linden. Where her quiet resistance in the first book made sense, in Fever, I kept wanting her to fight. To dig deep and find a way to fight for what she wants, to know she made the right decision in leaving and bringing Gabriel with her. It never happened and while a possible explanation entered near the end of the book, I’m not sold and I really hope DeStefano can make me believe it in the next book.

Gabriel still doesn’t interest me. In Wither, he was hardly around enough to form a real connection with. In Fever, he’s around more, but half the time he’s drugged and not himself, a quarter of the time either he or Rhine is sleeping and that last quarter is what he really is. I’m sure a lot of people are completely in love with him, and I see his potential, but he’s just not there. I haven’t seen enough of him as him to really feel the romance between him and Rhine.

The other thing that left me feeling disappointed was the plot. It felt like a lot of running and hiding, but there weren’t any answers to questions. It felt a bit like running on a treadmill. You’re doing something, but getting nowhere. Things happened, and I understand that they had to happen, but it just feels like it was a lot for nothing. And yet it somehow kept me interested and the ending has me ready to read the next book.

What I really loved about this book, though, were the secondary characters, especially Maddie. I fell in love with her hard this book. Lilac, Jared, Silas, and Claire were wonderful additions to the story and I found myself wanting to read more about them than I did Rhine and Gabriel. They were different and extremely wonderful to read.

Fever had as much potential to be a great story as Wither, but it fell a little short. It’s still an interesting story, but I wish there was a little bit more to Rhine and Gabriel. There’s enough to the book to keep me reading, and I hope DeStefano can write a conclusion that blows me out of the water.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I think DeStefano has an interesting idea for a story. It’s a bit different than most of what’s out there and it has the possibility to explore some really great topics. If you know you’re going to die at a certain age, how would you live your life? What would you do, what you say, what kind of person would you be? Unfortunately, for as much as DeStefano tries, Wither comes up a bit short.

It was hard to connect with Rhine. I didn’t completely understand her motives behind wanting to leave so badly. If you only have 20 years to live, would you rather spend them hiding with your brother in a basement using a gun to protect you from intruders, or in a mansion where anything you want, you can get? I wish there had been more reasoning behind Rhine’s urgent need to leave. I just had a hard time making sense of her. Other than that, she’s a mostly likable person and there’s a lot of room for her to grow and I’ll be reading to see what she does.

Linden fell completely flat for me as a possible love interest. He’s completely oblivious to most everything around him and I found him to be just a little creepy. He has no problem taking on multiple wives, one of them barely into her teens. He has no clue about what his father does in the basement of the mansion and I found it hard to believe he’d never question anything his father told him. He had a lot of potential to be a strong character and it wasn’t quite reached.

Gabriel was hardly even around and while I found his relationship with Rhine a little sweet, it was still hard to believe they had more than an incredibly strong friendship. He’s there for a little while, and then disappears. It felt more like Rhine was attaching to him simply because he wasn’t Linden instead of having actual feelings for him. I hope this will be explored more in Fever.

I was really looking forward to reading this book and unfortunately, it was a little disappointing. It felt like it wasn’t quite finished because there was so much room for growth in each character and the plot. It tried, but it didn’t quite succeed.