This is another one of those books that have been compared to other books (The Selection and Red Queen) that I haven’t yet read, so I kind of went into this without expecting anything. I don’t know if that’s the reason I fell in love with this book, or if it’s because it was just so darn awesome, but in either case, this is another book that I am so glad I didn’t miss out on.
Where was the hype for this one? I seriously haven’t seen much about it…which surprised me, because it seems like whenever a new fantasy series comes out, it really gets talked about…but this one kind of seemed to have slipped under the radar, which is a shame, because this is such a promising start to a new series.
Emelina Flores is a teenage girl who has had her entire world ripped away from her – her parents have been killed and her sister kidnapped – all because they live in Ruina, and the enemy kingdom is killing all of the Ruined, because they fear what their magic can accomplish. However, while Emelina (who calls herself Em), might not have any magic, she has something else: a plan.
So right in the first chapter, she kills the princess of another kingdom (who killed her father) – just like that. Her two friends take out the guards around her carriage, and she takes care of the princess. Talk about a badass heroine. She has no remorse about it, she doesn’t go on for thirty pages about how guilty she feels – she just does what she needs to do to find her sister and save her people. It’s about time we have some heroines who aren’t your typical “sweet as frosting on a cookie” girls who have no real feelings or emotions.
Anyway, Em plans on posing as this princess that she killed and taking her place – by going forth to marry the prince of Lera – the son of the king who has ordered her family murdered and took her sister. By doing this, getting close to the prince, she will be able to find her sister and stop the king from brutally executing every other Ruined he can find.
However, things take a bit of a turn for Em when starts to fall in love with the Prince. She didn’t plan on it, but she realizes that he isn’t anything like his father, and he doesn’t support anything that his father is doing. So while she still wants to carry out her plan to form an attack, she also tries to get the others working with her to spare his life.
This book was told in the viewpoints of both the Prince and Em. I loved how we got to get to know both characters, because honestly – we usually get a main character and then the love interest, who usually has no personality whatsoever. However, in Ruined, all of the characters have depth, and they’re all interesting. It’s amazing how well they are written! I love Cas, the Prince, because he isn’t just dull and flat – he has so much personality and he isn’t afraid to stand up to his father and question him or tell him when he believes he is wrong. He forms his own decisions and takes actions for himself, instead of waiting around doing nothing except filling up pages.
The dialogue between Em and Cas is always interesting. The two of them speak pretty much freely with each other (after getting over the fact that they didn’t like each other too much when they met), joke, and while they are pretty awkward together at first, you can tell that the spark is there between them. I can’t wait to see what becomes of their relationship in the next book. There did seem to be a bit of a love triangle here at first, which was almost annoying, but with the turn it takes (and it’s surprising), it really doesn’t matter at all.
The ending was a cliffhanger that is really making me crave the next book. I loved this one so much I’ll probably read it again just to get more of Em and Cas. This book just seemed to have everything – an awesome heroine, a great best friend (who poses as Em’s guard), sword fighting, a romance that leaves you weak in the knees, magic, and plenty of action from the first page until the last.
I do wish there was a bit more in the world building department…I mean, it wasn’t completely left out or anything, but I kind of just wished there would have been more detail. Definitely not a deal breaker for me, though, because there is enough other awesome stuff in this book to kind of make up for that in my opinion.
Fantasy fans – don’t miss this one! It’s amazing!