Early copy provided by HarperTeen through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own. Thank you Harper!
I have been loving Amy Tintera’s books since I read Reboot and Rebel last year, but this book takes my appreciation for her writing to a whole new level. While her previous duology was a lot of fun and really action packed, I personally believe that Amy Tintera’s true talent lies in fantasy writing. She is just so wonderful at weaving all these characters together with their various plotlines, making this setting so vivid and larger than life, while still giving these characters their own personalities and making me care so much what happens to every single one of them.
This is the story of Emelina Flores, a princess of a country called Ruina where people posses magical abilities (called the Ruined) that was conquered by the nation of Lera. Em poses as an upper class girl, who she kills to impersonate but that’s beside the point, and becomes the wife of Lera’s prince, Casmir. She is hoping to find her older sister Olivia and regain her kingdom, but as she gets to know Cas, its not that simple.
I absolutely adore Em as the main character, she is the perfect mix of a heroine that knows how powerful she is already and knows what needs to be done along with being someone who is constantly questioning her plans as she learns new things about those she is supposed to hate. I really enjoyed being in her head and her narrative was really fun to read from. I found it really interesting that she is a Ruined without magic, she also refers to herself as “useless” on some occasions, but she is powerful in other ways. Usually in fantasy books like this, the main character discovers some unknown power about themselves, I’m really happy Amy Tintera chose to go down this road instead. I also love that Em is already so well trained in combat and what she needs to do and that we do not have to have that predictable montage-like scene of any book or movie where the main character is training to be the best, she already is.
Okay so now onto Cas. I love Cas so much in this book, but I found him to be a bit weak near the middle of the story and really strong in basically every other scene. We meet Cas when him and Mary (Em in disguise) are getting married and he is what you would imagine, pissed as hell at an arranged marriage but he eventually grows to care about Mary (Em) and her in return. We see him be so strong standing up to his father about Ruined policy and fighting in the end with Galo, but when he is going after Em after she escapes and he is having this tumultuous internal battle with himself of what he is feeling, it felt like, just for that part, that he was letting his feelings for Em trump his logical reasoning and even survival. At least for me. For the other 99.99% of the story though, Cas is wonderful and the model of what every leader should be, calm and rational and for the good of ALL people.
I would have liked to see a bit more of Em’s Ruined friends, like Damian and Aren-especially Aren- and a bit more of Cas’ captain of the guard, Galo. I really loved the side characters almost as much as the main two and i am so excited to see where this story goes from here with them being more prevalent now that the world is built. I was so sad when Damian was executed and almost broke out into tears when he and Em had their final conversation.
I also loved how vividly I could picture this setting and how well it was described and gradually grown, it’s not often that I can picture a fantasy setting this clearly and I am happy I could do that here. I also found the castle’s policy regarding the Ruined extremely interesting and I am excited to see how Cas and his mother deal with that in the next installment, and who will be in charge?!?!
Writing reviews, I try to address both the positives and negatives and I have to say, it was hard to find any negatives in Ruined. I need the next book like a week ago. Amy. That ending. Ugh it was so good.
Definitely pick up Ruined when it goes on sale May 3rd, 2016. I will be freaking out over the ending, waiting for book 2.