I am here to graciously update your (otherwise boring) day with the knowledge that: RUINED IS BRILLIANT. THE END OF REVIEW.
Hahahhahah. Just kidding. I have so much more to say than that. I actually finished this book, looked at my dog and said out loud, “So so so good” because I was that impressed. (FYI: my dog is uncultured swine and didn’t care and just left the room. Do not be like my dog.)
I had a feeling I would adore Ruined before I started because a) epic fantasy is my darling, and b) Amy Tintera is the author. About a billion ago Amy Tintera wrote Reboot (I’m kidding, it was like in 2013. Actually, wait. That IS a billion years ago) which I UTTERLY ADORED. I’m pretty extra sure this makes me a rabid Tintera fan now because I will read whatever she writes. (I demand a fandom name. I demand we be called Tinterathans.)
- An epic world that was actually EPIC.
Excuse me and hello, my name is Fussy. It takes a LOT to impress me with epic fantasy because I read so very much of it (particularly versions where the worlds are poorly built). BUT THIS WAS SO GOOD. (It was only missing a map, seriously…where was my map????) It managed to give me THREE races of people that all stood apart, didn’t have confusing names, and had interesting and different cultures.
- Let us just FLAIL for the morally grey!
Um, wait. That sounds bad. I AM NOT EVIL. HEAR ME OUT. I just really love when you honestly can’t pick the “good” side. In Ruined, two races really LOATHE each other. The magical people (the Ruined) are being hunted and killed by the Lera. But the Ruined are TORTURERS and they’re brutal as vicious killer whales. (More “killer” than “whale” though I suspect.) And then the Lera? They look like happy frolicking roses on the outside, BUT THEY ARE VIOLENT AND UNFORGIVING TOO. The Lera king is such bad news. So honestly everyone was evil and I am a fan.
- The protagonists are adorable viciously stabby cinnamon rolls. It’s dual narrated by Em (who is actually non-magical BUT still a Ruined) and Cas (who is the future king of Lera). Aka — they’re enemies. Em is like “STABBY STABBY” and Cas is like “NICEY NICEY” and hold me while I adore them both so so much. Em literally meets people, acts all polite, and meanwhile mentally plots how to kill them. (Like, don’t we all?) Cas is super NICE and also a wicked good swordsman and his sarcasm is LETHAL.Naturally, Em is pretending to be someone else (in order to take down his kingdom) so she ends up married to him and HAHHAAHH. OH DEAR. They’re basically doing the wedding and she’s thinking how she could stab him. #shipit
The king sighed. “I suppose you could’ve done worse than Mary.”
“We should ask the priest to say that at the wedding,” Cas said. “‘And now we unite Casimir and Mary. They both could have done worse.”
- Did I mention the high levels of sarcasm yet???
Because I AM IN LOVE WITH THE SARCASM. The dialogue is perfection. I adored how flawlessly the banter wove in with the tense moments and how perfectly dry Cas could be. It is my favourite.
My wife didn’t smother me with a pillow. Must be love!
- Okay fact time: everything is just GOOD here.
Like what evil can I say??? NOTHING. I can only give lists of the gloriousness. For instance:
- Plot = perfectly interesting. It used a lot of average tropes but turned them on their head to be interest and unique.
- It had the “tough heroine who don’t need no man” but who ALSO HAD FEELINGS AND WAS GREAT.
- Also Em’s #1 goal was to rescue her little sister. N’awwww.
- (PS. Her little sister is kind of TERRIFYING BECAUSE MAGICAL POWERS AND CAN PULL PEOPLE’S SPINE OUT THEIR NOSE, KINDA THING.)
- Cas is super bored of everyone’s faces but still manages to be adorably winning.
- Lots and lots and lots of blood.
- Like, just kill the darlings. KILL THEM ALL.
- Torture. Jungles. Running. Bleeding. Sneaky kisses.
- The romance is slow burn and never throttles the plot.
- Magic is VICIOUS and stunning. The Ruined can split people from the inside out which is freaking awesome.
- Also, naturally, best ending EVER.
aHHHHHHHHH. It’s nearly a cliffhanger (I mean, it is) but it’s also satisfying. And I’m 100000% in need of the next book because it promises so. much. awesome. Aka this book ended with all madness breaking loose and I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT HPPENS NEXT.
Basically perfect book is perfect.
And my only teeny tiny negative comment is that Em and Cas were VERY like Wren/Callum from Reboot. But then since I adore both couples, this really isn’t a problem.
Anyway. I’m sure no one is actually still reading this review because you’ve all dashed MADLY ACROSS THE CONTINENTS to snabble yourselves up a copy. Good job. I haven’t read many 2016-published epic fantasies that I like…but THIS ONE IS AMAZING.
“Cheese bread,” he said. “Every time you come to the city, you buy one. It’s a rule.”
“It’s delicious,” she said…
“I’m glad you like it. The marriage might not have worked out if you didn’t.”
“How tragic. The union between Lera and Vallos destroyed over cheese bread.”
THANK YOU TO ALLEN & UNWIN FOR THE REVIEW COPY. Ruined (#1) by Amy Tintera was published April, 2016.
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 everyone 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.