Author: Amy Tintera
Series: Ruined #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook, 368 pages
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Rating: 3 out 5 stars
Amy Tintera’s new YA fantasy trilogy blends the romance of Kiera Cass’s Selection series and the epic stakes of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—she is determined to get revenge.
Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear, including his son.
The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
Two years ago, I picked up Amy Tintera’s debut novel Reboot on a whim and ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Then came the second book of the duology and I loved that one too. So you can imagine how excited I got when it was announced that she’ll be writing a new series with a fantasy setting. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Ruined’s release for quite some time now and I was so glad when the book finally arrived.
Emelina Flores’ people are being hunted. Killed for what they are. When her last remaining family member is kidnapped, Em is driven over the edge. Harboring intense desires of vengeance, she and a few of her trusted friends infiltrate their enemy’s kingdom with Em posing as the crown prince’s appointed bride. Meanwhile, Em’s allies are developing a plan of attack which hinges on Em’s success. She is convinced the mission will be easy with her anger driving her, but the more time she spends in the company of her husband, Em is torn between doing what is right by her heart and doing what’s right by her people.
Ruined was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. I dived in immediately after getting, fully intending to devour it in one go. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. This book plunged me into an enormous reading slump that I’m still trying to get out of. It’s really nothing new as most of the aspects have been already beaten to death in the fantasy genre. As much as I’d love to say Ruined completely exceeded my expectations, I cannot. But I also cannot say I didn’t like it at all.
The novel starts out too slow and takes too long to pick up. There’s also little information shared about the world, making it even harder to trudge along the beginning while trying to figure out who is who and what is what. And, to be honest, it feels as if time stops when Emelina and company get to the palace. During the first 60% of the book they just move around the different corridors and having midnight walks to the nearby town while prince Casimir divulges information convenient to the plotline almost out of the blue. Only after the Big Reveal comes in does the story pick up speed and I could finally say there’s something worthwhile happening.
Emelina is the type of character that I either love or hate. In this case, I mostly hated her. She was annoying for the most part, mainly during her time in the palace. Once she gets out of there, she gets more and more tolerable, which saves her from my wrath. She sticks with her goals the entire time, despite the Budding Romance and the conflict that comes along with it. Meanwhile, I started out really liking Casimir. In the first part of the book he’s an actual puppy. But then that was part of why he fell down a little bit for me. The fact that he is built up as this Cinnamon Roll made it a tad unbelievable that he’d react in such a way when he finds out the truth. But then, after we move past that, I started finding him likable once again. Just not enough to truly connect wit him. The same goes for Emelina and all the other characters.
While the romance is not quite insta-love, it still came a bit too fast for me. I feel like I complain about this in almost every book review I write and I’m not going to take away too many points, because I am a fan of the particularly slowest Slow Burns and not every book can fit my insanely outrageous criteria. Still, I admit Em and Cas were cute and definitely have their appeal as a fictional couple. The highest point of my investment in their relationship was right after the Big Reveal, to be quite honest. At first they were too vanilla for my tastes, but as the second half of the story progressed, they started to grow on me.
In conclusion, Ruined is a book ridden with clichés and not enough plot development, but it is still an entertaining enough read to draw the reader in, especially once the action stars up. Definitely not on the heavier side of the genre, this books is fun to read whenever you’re in the mood for cute romance complimented with some light magic and politics.