One of the features here at Books Are My Fandom is our Two Peas in a Pod Review. We will read and review a book as a team. We are choosing books we each haven’t read that sound good to us. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions for books that Dani and Jamie should read!
Series: Ruined #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Amazon ♡ Chapters ♡ TBD
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.
HOOOOOOOLY dude. What a wild ride! I’d heard a few mixed views on RUINED, which is why I didn’t read it straight away after getting it in a FairyLoot box a few months back, and now I regret that decision. Because it was AWESOME. It’s been so long since I just sat for hours and read a book from start to finish. I just had to keep reading.
There’s so much I love about this book. First of all, the plot was exciting as hell. The pace was pretty brisk, with things moving quickly, but I liked it. It wasn’t too quick, and it kept things interesting without lingering too much on irrelevant information. At one point, I even messaged Jamie to lament over the fact that my eyes wouldn’t read the words fast enough. I just wanted to squish the book into my face and absorb it all in a moment. But then I wouldn’t have had the experience of just reading all day, something I’ve sorely missed since I started my MBA.
I also loved the romance. Cas and Em were so not in the mood to marry each other, but the gradual progression of feelings on both sides set sail to an epic ship. Then when poop hit the fan, and everything got confusing and mixed up for both of them, the feelings were so strong and hurt my heart. MY HEART, GUYS. I loved these characters so much: Cas with all his guilt and determination to understand and be better, Em with all the rage that she tried to channel into leading her people, even when they thought she was useless.
My heart was definitely a target in this book, as plenty of terrible things happened that tried to rip it to pieces. The violence was pretty graphic for a YA book. No mercy. And there was death. SO MUCH DEATH. And one death in particular left me sobbing and having to take a break (while I did the laundry, because that’s what adults sadly have to do on weekends).
You know what else I loved? The world. One where women were just as badass as men and allowed to fight, BUT ALSO ALLOWED TO WEAR DRESSES AND ENJOY IT. They could be girly and also be considered equal to men when sparring. (Which led to one of my favourite kinds of scenes: the guy and the girl training together, getting all sweaty and pushing each other physically. Mmmm.) Women could dance together, men could kiss each other, and it was no big deal. Just what I needed after spending the week alternating between sad and angry because of the election results, where America voted in a homophobic poophead.
The ending was INTENSE and now I have to wait for the next book, which will be torture. But at least I didn’t end up like a certain someone in the last few pages, right? I’m honestly very, very scared of the person responsible for that act of violence. (Bee Tee Dubs, the women are the scariest bunch in this book. They are women, hear them roar.)
If you want to see my reactions throughout the book, check out my status updates on Goodreads!
I really liked this one! I thought that it was a good start to a fantasy series and I’m very excited to see where it will go from here. I liked the characters, the romance (shocking, I know), and the situation. I thought that it was a really good Epic Fantasy and I really enjoyed reading about the world, cultures, and different races. I thought it was just super cool.
I liked that there was actually an epicness to this epic fantasy. Too often I find that YA fantasies are called “epic” fantasies and then they … aren’t. This was a good example of an epic fantasy for me. There was a vast land that had different races that were easy to differentiate between without having confusing or overly difficult names and a rich explanation of the world. BUT. There was no map. Which was quite disappointing for me. However, I hold out hope that next time there will be a map to show me how large these places are and where they intersect.
I also really liked that no character was perfect. Everyone was morally ambiguous and did some bad shit. I think this was really seen when you saw the difference between how Cas talked about Em’s mom and how Em talked about her mom. Both had different perspective about her but agreed on one thing: SHE LOVED TO TORTURE PEOPLE. And I’m like “whoa whoa, can we back up to where I can see this torture happen???” I just loved that not everyone was fantastic or terrible, they were somewhere in between and it depended on which side you were on how you viewed them. (View Spoiler »When Cas was like “GUESS OUR PARENTS SUCK, EH??” I was DYING of laughter. « Hide Spoiler)
And I loved that there could have been a love triangle but it was completely dismissed by all the characters in there. Em was like “yeah my mom wanted me to marry this dude and maybe if things had been different” and her friends were like “no bro that wouldn’t have happened you didn’t like him that way” and she’s all “yeah true.” Like here for it. I love when females are in charge of their own feelings and the author doesn’t throw in a love triangle just for the sake of it!! It wouldn’t have fit here at all. I also really liked View Spoiler »when Cas is like “oh is it Aren that you loved” and Em was like “wtf why would I bring the person who loves me to watch me marry someone else” « Hide Spoiler because like YES. Don’t do that.
There was a time in the story I was like “wow that’s a bad idea but please do it” and then something would get in the way of the character doing it and while it had other drama because of it, I kinda wanted the drama from the original idea rather than what came out of it. I liked that View Spoiler »Em wanted to be so open with Cas even if she wasn’t sure how he would react « Hide Spoiler because MY BABIES.
My only only issue with this one was that at 60%ish, I felt like it lagged a bit with the characters separating in the jungle and then coming back together. I thought that the travel here wasn’t the best that it could have been and if I hadn’t been so invested in the novel, it would have completely turned me off. I wanted that section to be so much tighter than it was, especially since it was kinda just blown over a couple chapters later? Like the conflict was so easily resolved that had taken place in the first place that I was like “ah yes, conflict as a plot device to get these people separate and together.” And don’t get me wrong, I loved the alone time because kissing but I was meh about how they got there.
The other thing I was meh about was that they didn’t have sex right away. I get that they wanted to get to know one another or whatever other bs was given, but I wanted the gritty rawness of the fact that this was what they were supposed to do in this situation. I just think it would have been better if they had sex before they knew one another View Spoiler »and then wanted to do it again because they actually fell in love « Hide Spoiler, but that’s just my opinion on the matter.
Overall, I highly recommend this one if you like epic fantasies such as the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes or the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova. There is so much action in this one with romance peppered in, and characters that are fighting for what they believe in even if their beliefs are a little twisted. HERE FOR IT.