Ruined by Amy Tintera
Series: Ruined #1
Publisher: HarperTeen (3rd May 2016)
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.
About fucking time I found the time to write this review! I finished Amy Tintera’s new fantasy YA novel, Ruined last week and I was busy up to my eyeballs with assignments and presentations and quizzes. So apologies if you’ve missed me, my fellow bookish darlings. Oh, yes. There’s this Harry Potter tag that is long overdue, which I was tagged by the amazing Bookidote and Liam’s Library.
So here’s the business with Ruined. It is Amy Tinera’s first venture into YA fantasy – her first two books were dystopian, if I’m not mistaken – and it’s a very exciting sounding story. Though the premise of the novel is promising but I hoped that it avoided certain tropes in the genre.
Shall we have a checklist to see if you’d fancy picking Ruined up?
Badass heroine who is sassy? Check.
Cute, unassuming and trusting prince? Check.
Horrible king and queen? Check.
Possible love triangle? Check.
Violent fighting scenes? Check.
Ending that makes you go “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?”? CHECK.
If I were to categorise Ruined, I’d say that it’s fantasy/romance because there’s definitely a aspects of both genres in the book. I liked that it didn’t focus solely on the romance between Emelina and Cas, but it did branch on towards the politics of the kingdoms. AND FOR ONCE, a platonic relationship between the heroine and a male character, which is extremely rare, by the way. Like, thank you, Jesus and the Cauldron!
“A light touch on her knee made her grasp his hair tighter. He pushed her dress up her thigh, his fingers trailing sparks over her skin. That spark was going to catch and she was going to be consumed by flames at any moment. She was sure of it. But there was nothing that would stop her kissing him.”
I did have a small issue with the world building in Ruined because one, there wasn’t a map in the book (I read the ARC, so I am not certain if the actual book has a map, but here’s hoping that there is. Cripes, what is fantasy without beautifully drawn maps?) which made it quite confusing at times when Amy Tintera described the different kingdoms. There’s Ruina, Lera and Valos, I think but I would prefer it if she were to give the readers more to imagine when it came to the world building aspect of the book. Another issue would be the lack of suspense in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Ruined enough but I can’t be certain that I loved it. The plot was leaning towards the predictable end and I would have liked it more if the ending was more shocking or it had a plot twist.
“No one feared Emelina Flores, the useless daughter of the most powerful queen Ruina had ever known.
But they would.”
Emelina Flores. Hm, what can I say about our bloodthirsty heroine who wouldn’t think twice about spearing your heart with her sword? I loved the brutality of Ruined. Violent, gory and just nasty, but in a good way! The romance between Em and Cas was enjoyable to read but I was expecting more feels. I NEED MORE FEELS because I really liked Cas! He was definitely a character that I wouldn’t mind reading about in the second book. Amy Tintera did have a writing style that suited the genre and I liked it. I fell into the story easily and finished it in a day.
All in all, Ruined is a promising first book of a series that has loads of potential. I liked it enough to continue with the series because of Cas! Okay, maybe I’d like to know more about Em as well, because she’s Ruined, but unlike her people, she doesn’t have powers of any sort. So, I look forward to reading more about her and seeing how Amy Tintera is going to expand the series. Ruined was solid, where Amy Tintera played to her strengths and avoided clichés that would set my eyes rolling. Heh.
Ruined is out now. I’d like to thank HarperCollins International for sending me a copy for review.