Friday, 11 March 2016

Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

Title: Ruined (Ruined #1)
Author: Amy Tintera

Release date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 247

Source: Edelweiss

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.

Amy Tintera has made me fall in love with her books again! This is so different from her Reboot duology, but just as awesome. Yes, the premise is quite common in YA fantasy books nowadays, but there are so many unique aspects to it as well, and I loved the protagonists.

Em is hell bent on getting revenge on the king of Lera for the murder of her parents and the kidnapping of her younger sister, Olivia. The Ruined are being hunted and killed because of their magic - their power. Em, however, doesn't have any Ruined magic, though she is of the royal line. But that doesn't deter her in her mission to destroy the king and find Olivia. She infiltrates the royal family of Lera by pretending to be another princess, and marrying Prince Casimir of Lera. She slowly gains knowledge about her sister, but she also learns more about Cas, and the fact that he's not like his father. Cas could be a good king someday, but Em doesn't know if she can trust him - she has too much to lose.

Em really made an impression on me right from the first chapter - she kills Princess Mary in cold blood to assume her identity. Well, not exactly cold blood, and Mary wasn't exactly innocent. But from that moment, I knew Em really wasn't someone to mess with. She's one of the toughest YA protagonists I've read about so far, and I loved that she's not the compassionate and kind type. She's ruthless, but you can't help loving her.

I wasn't sure about Cas at first, since he seemed incredibly naive. Though he's the prince, there's so much he doesn't know about his own kingdom and what his father is doing. It's only when Em comes into his life that he begins to question what's happening in his kingdom, and what his father is doing to the Ruined. But along the way, Cas gets a backbone and he knows that his father is wrong. He also can't help falling for Em pretty soon, although he believes she's Mary. Also, I love how honest Cas is about everything he feels and does. There's no deception in him, and he's so open. It was nice to see that in contrast with Em, who's always hiding who she is.

Obviously, Em's secret comes out at some point, and it was heartbreaking. Em and Cas clearly care a lot for each other, and there is a little bit of romance between them towards the end. But because of who they are, they can't be together, and that tore me apart. They're so good for each other - Em steers Cas towards the right path, and Cas keeps Em from becoming consumed by her thirst for revenge.

There are a couple of other characters I really liked - one was Aren, Em's friend who accompanies her to the palace, posing as a guard. He's a Ruined who has magic, and it was great seeing him use it. He's really powerful, which you can tell from the marks on his body. But at times he doesn't know his own power, so I'm intrigued to see how he learns to control that and hone his power into something really awesome. The other character I loved was Iria, a warrior ally of Em's. She takes no crap from anyone, and though there isn't much love between her and Em, they help each other out. Also, Iria's pretty badass.

I would have loved to know more about the history and culture of the Ruined, and learn about how their power works and also why Em doesn't seem to have any. But maybe those questions will be answered in the next book. Regardless, I can't wait to see what's in store for us in the sequel. Especially after a sort-of-ominous ending!

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

3 comments:

  1. WOAH WE WERE ALMOST REVIEW DAY TWINS! I don't know how I missed this post on GFC! You know, for all the crap that people say about GFC, I use it frequently! I deleted 90% of the blogs I had been following (for giveaway entries, mostly), and now I'm done to like, 20 blogs, the ones I care about. :D

    Anyway! YAY for Ruined! I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I totally agree that this is a common skeleton plot/concept of some YA fantasy novels, but Tintera totally made it her own! Oh the agony of waiting for book two. o_o

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Richa! Fabulous review. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  2. Great review!! So glad you enjoyed it!! It's a wonderful YA fantasy!! I can't wait for the next one!

    Feel free to pop over and check out my review of Ruined

    Shubba @ Wee Shubba's World.

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  3. I haven't read any of Amy Tintera's books but Ruined caught my eye the moment I saw it! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks for the review!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

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