Ruined (Ruined #1) by Amy Tintera
Amy Tintera’s YA fantasy trilogy blends the romance of Kiera Cass’s Selection series and the epic stakes of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—she is determined to get revenge.
Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear, including his son.
The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
I picked this book up a few months ago because a blogger friend of mine was raving about how great it was and I was really excited to read it.
Ruined begins with the reader being introduced to the main character Emelina (called Em) and her two associates as they kill a princess and her guards. Why? Because the princess killed Em's father and she's to marry the son of the king that killed Em's mom (the Queen of her homeland - Ruina) and kidnapped her younger sister Olivia. Em plans to assume the princess's identity, marry the prince, and destroy the kingdom from the inside.
I know, I know - we can all see where this is heading. Em will arrive at the palace acting like a heartless bada$$ who is solely out for revenge until she begins to fall for the prince and then tries to stop the domino effect chain of events that she's set in motion.
To be completely honest, I was loving the story until about 2/3 of the way through. Em was sassy and I loved her and Cas dancing around each other, both desperately trying to deny that they were falling for each other. Iria and the warriors kind of reminded me of Vikings, which was cool. The story had just enough danger as you waited to see if Em's true identity and that of her associates would be uncovered.
And then it was and the story began to unravel for me. It seemed like most of the last 100 or so pages of Ruined could have been wrapped up in half that amount. It was so drawn out - the waiting for the rest of the warriors to arrive and Em to save her sister. It also feels like the romance between Cas and Em was just rushed into that section. One minute Cas was angry with Em for lying (and acting pathetic because he thought she didn't like him) then the next they're practically throwing down right then and there (kissing).
Cas's parents and his cousin were excellent villains - I hated them instantly, but at the same time I also disliked Em's sister. I can definitely see her growing into a huge threat in the next book.
Overall, I liked this book, but I do believe the story lost something when everything became so rushed when Cas and his parents discovered Em's true identity and then the rest was like wading through molasses - painfully slow. I fear that when lined up with a bunch of other fantasy novels I wouldn't be able to distinguish it from the rest.
One other thing, I noticed a few typos and inconsistencies in this book. At one point, in the beginning, Cas refers to Em as herself when he doesn't know her name is Em - he's supposed to think she's Mary, remember? Someone should have caught that kind of thing, right?
Would I pick up the next book? I might look at it at the library and flip to the end, but I'm not sure I'd spend money on book 2.
3.5 of 5 Stars!