Ruined, Book 1
by Amy Tintera
Publisher: Harper Teen
-------------------------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.
A Quick Review ***Beware of mild spoilers***:
Admittedly I was fighting this book in the beginning. Not because of the writing, the characters, or the plot- but because I had just finished a trilogy that had blown my pants off, any book after that was going to have an uphill battle. But Ruined is gorgeous, so unique in its collected parts- even if fantasy fans have seen it all before, I hadn't read anything like this one before. The book is so full of moral ambiguity, I don't think any of the characters can look at themselves and say they hadn't gotten their hands dirty- or stayed silent when they should have stood up and used their voice and their power when bloody decisions were being made. Sooo many innocent people die so that Kings and Queens can power play.
I was surprised how naive Cas is, this is the first time a hero is written to fit his age and level of experience. He dislikes the way his parents act, but he loves them. But he never cared enough to question their actions. I feel that his mother is particularly devious despite loving her son- I believe that she would choose herself and power over him.
Then there is Emelina! Do I love her because her last name is Flores like me? Or do I love her because she has guts and I never had to meet her before when she was just a Princess who would never be Queen? She has good instincts, great skill, and a fearless nature that makes me love her all the more. She fell in love with her enemy, I'm so glad she has the capacity to love despite all that she and her people have suffered. I fear for Em and Cas, what future can they have when they are at war with eachother? All the wounds for their people are so fresh, how could they ever accept them together? I guess we will see!