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Friday, June 24, 2016

Ruined (#1) by Amy Tintera

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Published May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062396609

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

Review - 5 Stars

I have had my eye on this book for ages and I was highly anticipating it's release and I am glad to say it hasn't disappointed. I was surprises at how fast everything started happening and there was continuous action from page one right up to the explosive last page.

What Made This Books Such a Gem?

First off I love Em as a main character. She was determined, and willing to sacrifice herself to attempt to save her sister, and ultimately save her people. She had this great ability to act all nice and kind to her enemies faces, while planning the best way of stabbing them in the back. Although that makes her sound like she is evil and terrifying she totally doesn't come across that way. I loved the way that she interact with the 'Ruined', she didn't talk down to them because she was royal and they didn't talk down to her because she couldn't do magic, they main treated each other as equals. Having said that I love this, I also wish they would look at her as a bit of a leader because she would make an awesome leader - something I hope we will get to read about in the future books. *fingers crossed* 
So the love interest Cas, I also loved him. He was kind, sweet and an all round nice guy who did his best in a bad situation. He had a great relationship with his guard Galo, these kind of friendships that transcend social standings have to be one of my favourite kinds of friendships.
I can't express my love for Cas enough, but there was a potential for a love triangle (LET ME EXPLAIN) in the first chapter there is the line "Maybe then she'd be able to look at Damian the same way he looked at her". We all know she is off to marry Cas and I was like 'Here we go...' I kept reading (obviously) and I just want to assure all you triangle hater's, that this book is safe, no love triangle here, no jealous boy fighting over a girl, no mixed feeling of 'who do I love? Can I love two people? Who shall I 'choose'?'. So in short this is a hint that there COULD HAVE BEEN a love triangle, but it doesn't develop into one and it ISN'T GOING TO (at least a far as I can tell, after all this a fantasy book and who knows what magic will do).  
I enjoyed the slight awkwardness, and the insecurities that came from Cas and Em's  (who is acting as Mary, the person who was meant to be marrying Cas) marriage being arranged for them. I loved the way that as they got to know each other, there preconception's (and general hate on Em's part) are gradually chipped away.   
The witty banter in this book was amazing, it really helped to bring out the personalities of the different characters and showed the closeness of the relationships between them. It was woven so cleverly into general convocation and also into the main characters thought processes. It just made reading this story an all the more entertaining experience.

I would also like to highlight that all the societies are 'baddies' in this book. The way I see it there is no 'good' society and 'evil' society in this book. Bad deed's are repaid with bad deeds, and revenge has turned into an endless cycle of hate on all sides. I kind of like that your in a way not 'rooting for' a particular group of people but have to judge the individuals on their actions. 

" Sympathy doesn't mean much if you don't take action." - Page 71
Em's mother fascinates me, and although she is killed before the start of this book I feel as though we can get a sense of what she was like, through how people talk about her and also the impact and lasting teachings she gave Em. She comes across as a strong willed, controlling and brutal ruler and I think would have been a bit like Olivia in many ways. 


 Things I Didn't Treasure!

 Although it was great that we got to dive straight into the action from chapter one, I would have liked to have seen (maybe just a chapter or two) where Em had been living for the last year, who she interacted with etc.
It would have been nice to know slightly more about the Ruined, there magical abilities still confuse me a bit. I think this is something that is a result of the combination of, the main character not having the magic and most of the book being set where this magic = death. However, this slight confusion I am sure will be cleared up in the sequel.  

 To Sum It All Up

This book is an amazing read, which I flew through and would highly recommend. It was fast paced, full of action with some magic thrown into the mix too. I loved the characters and there interactions and banter made this an greatly entertaining story. We are left with a spectacular ending, which leaves me highly anticipating the sequel.