Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Hardcover, 368 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Fantasy
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.
Epic Reads pitched this video as a mix of Red Queen and The Selection, and while I agree with that statement, I think there’s more to this book than just being similar to those titles. Honestly, this book was a love story, a revenge story, a family-love story, a magic story, a fantasy story, and a betrayal story all wrapped up into one beautiful package. (Seriously, that cover is gorgeous.)
Okay, so I have to admit that when I first started reading Ruined, I was skeptical about how awesome it was going to be. Why? Well, after watching the Epic Reads Explains video for it, I was so excited to get my hands on this book, that I had set my expectations very high. Unfortunately, the first fifty or so pages of the book were a little “eh,” but we’ll get to that later.
I want to talk about the characters first. Em is definitely a unique character. She’s not all-powerful as it seems like Calaena Sardothien is, nor is she as magically capable as Hermione Granger. And she most definitely is not as kind-hearted as Katniss (and that’s saying something ‘cause Katniss isn’t the most kind character on the planet). However, she is loyal to her people and her family, and even an unsuspected romance can’t really change that.
Speaking of unsuspecting romances, we have Prince Casimir. I love him. While I’m not a huge fan of dual POVs (I like my female main characters love interests to be mysterious), I thought Cas’s thoughts were necessary to the story. He was so oblivious and naïve, but that just brought out his overall charm. Also, the way his storyline played out was insane. I just wanted to kiss him better 95% of the time.
As for the plot of the story, as I mentioned earlier, the first fifty-ish pages were not the greatest. Mostly because it seemed like nothing was fully explored. I wanted Tintera to take her time exploring the characters and their actions, as well as the setting and stakes, but that didn’t happen at first. However, once I got used to this more light style (not saying the book’s plot is light because there is a lot of killing after all), I flew through this book. There was non-stop action and intrigue, and the romance kept me on the edge of my seat.
All in all, Ruined is a book any fan of the current popular YA fantasy books will not only love but obsess over. I can’t wait for book two, and I’m sure there are plenty of others who are in the same boat as me—anxiously waiting for yet another sequel.
*Note: I was gifted a copy of this book. This in no way affected my opinion/review.