I always get monstrously pleased when a sequel doesn’t disappoint, and Avenged (Ruined #2) was a GLORIOUS.
Last year, Ruined was one of my top reads for it’s levels of epic sass, cheesebread, and stabbing. And while Avenged does fail with the cheesebread (#heartbroken) it is a fabulous continuation on Em’s story.
I also am such a huge fan of Amy Tintera’s writing style — dry humour, sharp dialogue, and characters who will break your heart. Like, literally break it. Probably pull it out of your chest…BUT OKAY. LET’S MOVE FORWARD. This was quite a bloody sequel (although not gory) and I’m impressed!
NOTE: This is a sequel review but will have NO SPOILERS for this book. May contain very teeny spoilers for book 1, but I’ll be super careful and vague so read on without fear!
The plot of this one is very different to the first.
More meetings and politics and travelling…all things I’m not such a fan of? But at least it’s concise and balances it with epic action scenes where EVERYBODY DIES AND IT’S TERRIFYING. Nice.
Also Em and her nearly freed sister, Olivia, are being co-queens. I can’t even summarise how EXCITING THIS IS. I’ve never read a book with two lethal epic badass sister queens?!??? Now I want 900 more. Immediately. Olivia is pretty terrifying. Like did you blink wrong? SHE’LL PULL YOUR SPINE OUT YOUR NOSE WITH HER POWERS. And while it was bloody, it wasn’t super dark or anything. I think this is the reason it didn’t win me over as hard as book 1? The stakes were high but I just didn’t feel super worried because the main characters got cushioned.
But I am also a horrible person so please excuse me.
I also have to admit I don’t like the cover… It doesn’t even look like the same smudged and tired and forcefully determined Em on the first cover? But the blue is a delicious shade.
There are also 4 narrators this time: Em, Cas, Olivia, and Aren!
- EM: I love her so much! She is so wry and sarcastic and diplomatic and sensible. While Olivia is bathing in the blood of her foes, Em is like “ok but could we talk to them first”. Communication levels with Em are A+ WHICH IS SO REFRESHING TO READ.
- CAS: MY DARLING CAS CHILD. He gets smacked about a lot in this book and yet he is the sweetest and most precious cinnamon scone. I love reading about sweet boys and lovely kings and Cas is BOTH and he is glorious. And so dryly sardonic too. He gets poisoned and his #1 reaction is “Okay but the poisoned soup at least was delicious.” #BlessHim
- OLIVIA: Well, she is a bucket full of psycho. But I loved how the story showed her venerable side too and how she joked with Em and was fiercely loyal and defending of her people. BUT SHE’S SCARY, OK. She loves to kill.
- AREN: I was dubious about him having a narrating POV because: why sir. But turns out I love Aren. He is super powerful and yet has a lot of PTSD meltdowns and he was so well written and realistically done that I just <3 <3 <3
- GALO & MATEO: They’re Cas’ most trusted guards and also an item and also SO fiercely protective of him. This news just in: Cas is everyone’s cinnamon child.
- VIOLET: She’s a new addition and she’s such a delightful contrast to the epic badass Ruined warriors. She’s kind and thoughtful and highly capable with weapons and lovely.
- JOVITA: Cas’ cousin makes a play for the throne and tries to declare him insane/poison him…she’s been watching too much Game of Thrones. ALSO I WANT TO FRY HER INTO SOUP.
- It’s dialogue centric. And the dialogue is crisp and often witty!
- The humour is pretty modern. Which I adoooooore. Sure it’s not like medieval-style, but the jabs and jokes are the best so, hi. I’m a fan.
- Pacing is fabulous. Because we’re not left with chapters of info dumps!
- I never even felt the need to wander off and take a sandwich because 500% engaged THE WHOLE TIME. Which is surreal because I love sandwiches.
- because I love
- The characters are never what you expect. Because they’re…like original and unique?!
- Cas throws a “woe is me everyone hates me” pity party and his guard smacks him in the head. #Friendship
- Cas tho. Too precious for this world.
- It balances war and strife between 3 different countries. And they all felt different and well developed!
- So. much. shipping. Cas and Em are still pretty dysfunctional, but they don’t have ANGST tantrums and I love love love that. They are in mild denial of their feelings, but that’s brief and I just want to hug the book for not being overly dramatic. They need to sail. THEY NEED TO. I want them to dryly sass each other to death. Or a happily ever after. Whatever comes first.
Avenged was definitely a bucket of engaging epicness with a sidedish of psychotic lollipops.
The best combination.
I don’t think it was quite as good as the first book, but still absolutely amazing and I swallowed it whole. This is the kind of YA fantasy I want to read! Complex characters, interesting worlds, wit and sarcasm, and people with magical powers that can rip the world to pieces. Lovely. I WANT MORE.
THANK YOU TO ALLEN & UNWIN FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. Avenged (Ruined #2) by Amy Tintera was published May, 2017.
A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.
Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together have devised a plan that will rebuild Ruina to its former glory.
But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure.
Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just colouring her judgement.
Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies–and her blood–before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.