Recently, I finished Ruined by author Amy Tintera, who also wrote Reboot and Rebel. I did read through about half of Reboot, but quickly grew bored and didn’t bother finishing it. Since Goodreads, as a whole, seemed to really enjoy Ruined, I figured that it would be fair to give the book a chance. And I’m glad that I did.
Ruined follows the outcast Queen Emelina Flores, whose kingdom Ruina and family were brutally destroyed by their enemies in Lera. Her parents were murdered, her sister kidnapped, and she was left alone in the world. People of Ruina have powers that allow them to commit acts that shouldn’t be possible, like controlling the wind or the sea– Emelina is special because she is the first child to be born without any power. Due to her lack of power, the remaining Ruina people who haven’t been slaughtered by Lera decide that she is of no use, and vouch to extract revenge on their own. Emelina, on the other hand, accompanied by her two oldest friends, conducts her own ploy.
Emelina plans to infiltrate the Lerian royal family from the inside, and she starts off by masquerading as the young prince’s fiance. Mary, princess of a nearby kingdom and the killer of Emelina’s parents, is quickly dispatched and replaced by Emelina herself. After successfully penetrating the palace, Emelina sets about securing her position and finding out as much as she can about the Ruina people that Lera is keeping hostage and killing, and also puzzling out where her younger sister is being kept. Things would go effortlessly, if only Emelina didn’t proceed to fall in love with Prince Casimir.
I really enjoyed this book– the concept of an arranged marriage took on a new twist when the addition of one party hating the other was introduced. Also, this is the most primal form of a hate turned love relationship, and you know I always find those entertaining! So yeah. Right up my alley. And another thing is that Emelina Flores is an incredibly bitter character. I mean, understandably– her parents were killed right in front of her. I think their heads are planted on pikes by Mary, and then she has to pretend to be Mary throughout the rest of the book, eesh.
The novel has a lot of really interesting characters, but I think that the one I liked most was warrior princess Iria of Olso: confident, charming, and quick-witted. She and Emelina are working together to take down the Lera royal family, unbeknownst to them. There’s also Aren, younger friend of Emelina and a powerful user of wind magic. He’s one of the few Ruina who believe in her (one of two) and despite the death of Damian, their more charismatic, rebel-leader friend, Aren takes on the responsibility of being Emelina’s bodyguard.
There are many difficult situations for Emelina in this book: her marriage to Casimir, despite the fact that his parents were directly responsible for the deaths of hers; the aforementioned death of Damian, who she may have had feelings for but of course, these are never resolved; killing Mary; facing the fact that her mother Wenda, known for torturing powerless citizens of Lera and being directly responsible for the discriminatory feelings that arose between the Ruined and the rest of the world, may not have been the wonderful person that she remembers.
To surmise, I would recommend this book to someone looking for a good revenge tale, or someone looking for the love-hate relationship. It’s a good story, the writing is well-done and descriptive, and the characters have soulful backstories that resonate in context with the tale. It’s interesting! And man, that tag line: “KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE.” It’s very reminiscent of *~Dishonored 2~*
I’ve been stuck on a streak of bad books since– or maybe they just seem bad in comparison. Here’s to hoping for more good books in 2017!