Author: Amy Tintera
Publication Date: May 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
I haven't read a Fantasy novel in a while, mainly because they became kind of repetitive and nothing intrigued me enough to actually commit to reading it. Sad, I know. Historical Mystery has become my obsession these days and I don't regret a single second of immersing myself in crime and mayhem set in the 19th century. What made me pick up Ruined, you might be wondering. Well, I stumbled upon a hardback edition on Facebook Marketplace, believe it or not, and gave in.
I'm going to start by saying that Ruined was such a quick and light read! I finished it in a day, which is saying a lot. I'm going to get into its shortcomings at the end of this review, but I should say that it serves as a great example of cliché tropes that were put to good use, at least from my personal reading experience. Firstly, I immensely enjoyed how the relationship between the two characters slowly came to be, the build up was quite entertaining to say the least. Em was a fairly interesting heroine, considering the fact that we don't have that much to go on with throughout the novel, concerning her background that is. She appeared as a headstrong leader with a vulnerable side that went against everything her kingdom represented, which is obviously not a bad thing because it made her human and determined to make a change, for the better. She definitely did develop as a character and even though she didn't have any of the magic her people were notorious for, she was still willing to fight and claim back what was stolen from them.
Casimir was okay, I guess. I did warm up to him towards the ending when he finally decided to stand up to his family and actually consider the possibility of peace, but he was quite subdued in terms of how he expressed himself throughout the novel. I liked seeing him with Em and I feel like the ending created this potential for his development as a character in the next novel, something that he didn't really have in the beginning. I also enjoyed his relationship with Galo and it is definitely something I want to see more of in the sequel!
I'm not going to get into the premise, because that will spoil the whole book for those interested in reading it. But if you're a fan of Fantasy, don't expect something you haven't read before. This is definitely a storyline that has been repeatedly explored throughout the years. What you should expect is a light read with an engaging plot that's definitely really enjoyable and east to read! It does have a lot of potential and I really can't wait to see where the story will go from here.
Moving on to what put me off, but didn't prevent me from enjoying Ruined. It barely touched the surface of the world the author was in the process of creating throughout it. I feel like there are so many questions about the main characters' background, where the hatred between the four kingdoms stems from and about their history in general. The world building and the setting were vague unfortunately and didn't do much to enhance the process of reading the book itself for me. It was the only premise in which it lacked and the author could've focused on a bit more. Which doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it, because it was definitely what I need at the time... I would've enjoyed it much more though, that's for sure.