Book: Ruined (Ruined 1) by Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Tags: Young Adult / High Fantasy / Romance / Revenge
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
The king sighed. “I suppose you could’ve done worse than Mary.”
“We should ask the priest to say that at the wedding,” Cas said. “‘And now we unite Casimir and Mary. They both could have done worse.”
One of those tropes in high fantasy that I always dance around is the arranged marriage. At the one hand I find something very appealing about finding love when you already have to build a life together, married. This coming from someone who is not much of a romance reader. On the other hand, the whole not being able to choose for yourself is terrible. Conflict.
So I was very happy to see this book with a small twist. Our bride to be is not exactly our bride to be as she has killed that one. Em is out for revenge to those that destroyed her kingdom and killed most of her family. So she murders Prince Casimir’s bride to be and takes her place. It is not on a whim either but it has a bigger plan behind it which is why I was more so taken by this plot. It is well thought out.
Revenge can be a bit tricky in a plot like this and I would not be me if I thought the dislike went to like a bit too quickly for my taste in this. But even so it was only a small bit that I had to pick with that aspect. I got it. Cas wasn’t the one doing the killing or gave any of the orders so I understood why Em would start to like him. In his own way he certainly was charming too.
Character wise I grew fond of Em and Cas. It was great to see their dual narrative in third person point of view. There is quite a bit of humor going back and forth between them and other characters. Some snark here and there. I kind of missed that nearing the ending when the stakes went higher. I am incredibly curious about Olivia. She seems blood thirsty almost.
I like how this book gave me conflict as to what side I should be rooting for. Should I root for Em’s kingdom who are currently being oppressed and hunted down to be killed? Or should I root for the oppressor who in their own mind finally got rid of their oppressors which would be Em’s kingdom? See, grey area and there are quite a bit more nuisances in there. I do wonder how Amy Tintera will resolve (a part) of this in the next books.
One thing that I did wonder throughout the books are the ruined. While Em is a ruined, she does not have any powers. Useless as she calls it herself. So we get to know little about their powers and how they work. Bits here and there (and granted a few weaknesses) but not so much how it all works or why they have powers but not the others. I also would have liked to have seen a bit more background on the whole Ruined being the previous oppressors.