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.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
I’ll admit, I’ve had my eye on Ruined for a while. The premise of the book certainly intrigued me, but also reminded me of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, a book that I did not particularly enjoy. Although I am happy to report that Ruined was far better than Red Queen, it still wasn’t quite a 5 star book for me.
Let me begin with the main characters: at the start of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed Em. I loved that she decided how she would kill her enemies upon first joining them in a room. It immidiately reminded me of Aelin in the Throne of Glass series. Unfortunately, by the middle of the book, this particular skill of hers had completely vanished. Although she was still a badass, it was something that I really missed in her narration.
Cas also grew on me rather quickly. He was instantly endearing and likable. Not only did I enjoy his openness and honesty (perhaps not admirable traits with enemies in your midst, but I digress), I loved that he began to grow a backbone over the course of the novel. His willingness to stand up for what was right, while still remaining loyal to his kingdom and friends was certainly admirable. I can only hope that he continues to develop into a strong leader as the series progresses.
The romance between Cas and Em was a sweet slow burn. What really made their romance enjoyable was the star-crossed lover aspect of it. No matter how you slice it, they are two people poised to ascend to the thrones of opposing kingdoms – a situation that isn’t exactly conducive to a successful marriage.
My connection to the main characters aside, the writing style of this book was a touch redundant at times. During fight scenes, it got tiring to read the word “warrior” again and again. I felt as though there were other ways she could have referred to the the battling parties to break up the repetition. In addition, the writing felt choppy in a way that just sort of niggled. I was struggling to find a way to describe it when I read another reader’s review. In it, the reader mentioned that this particular style of writing is better when paired with a first person narrative. After reading the fight scenes at the end of the book, I am inclined to agree. The choppy writing would have made more sense if the entire story had been told in the first person.
My Takeaway: Although I read Ruined in one sitting, I have still not decided wether or not I will continue this series. I have read extremely mixed reviews about Avenged, which, when combined with my own mixed feelings about Ruined, have left me unsure.