Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Avenged by Amy Tintera

(Ruined #2)
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Hardcover, 416 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.

Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

My Review

I’m not sure what to say about this book. I loved Ruined. Em was headstrong and the plot of the book was a fast-paced revenge story. The sequel just didn’t seem to have that same dedicated narrative.

Avenged starts off soon after the first book ends. Em and Olivia are taking the Ruined back home, while Cas is dealing with his home being taken away from him. However, there just wasn’t a solid arc to keep everything rolling like there was in book one. There were some minor squabbles and some new characters introduced, but otherwise, there’s not much going on.

The characters also fell a little short for me. Em, as I mentioned, was a pretty strong female lead in book one, but in book two, she becomes wishy-washy. It’s like she lost her own personality. It didn’t help that Cas managed to become an unlikable and weak character between books as well. Their individual downward spirals made their romantic relationship seem anticlimactic. By the time I’d read the first third of the book, I realized I wasn’t even invested in their relationship anymore.

The same can be said of the main characters’ relationships with the side characters. Olivia was too intense, so her relationship with Em was very one-sided. While all of Cas’s friends and followers seemed very one-dimensional. The only side character storyline I was interested in was Aren’s, simply because he had character growth.

One last thing that I have to talk about is the dialogue. It was so awkward. Everyone talked as if they lived in the modern age but were transported to a fantasy world. It kept throwing me out of the moment.

All in all, I was hoping for more with this sequel. The dueling-royal-families trope always makes me happy, but this one just had no solid direction. I might still read the third book, but I just don’t know for sure at this point…

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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