Series: Ruined #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published on May 3rd 2016
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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.
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
First of all, yes, this is one of those ‘pseudo-fantasy-lite’ novels where the kickass assassin/princess gets to wear pretty dresses and falls in love with the prince
Do not dismiss it because it’s more Twilight/Disney Princess (written for girls where girls star as the hero I might add) than Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter (written for boys and starring oh yeah BOYS).
DO NOT DISMISS IT as an assassin book where no one suffers or is murdered or the heroine doesn’t get her revenge.
Do not dismiss it as a book where the heroine is passive and gives up on her goals to be with said hot prince.
Do not dismiss it as a book where the royalty survive just because they’re royalty.
Do not dismiss it as a book where the author helicopters their characters out of peril.
Do not dismiss it as a book where the princess is too consumed by her looks. I mean fuck, are we not allowed to admire ourselves when we’re wearing pretty dresses now? You should have seen me last night for my 9 year anniversary demanding my husband actually take photos of me, all because I was wearing my prettiest dress.
None of these things are true
There is so much fighting and battle and blood and ruthlessness in this book, and so much death.
Sweet, glorious death.
Em commits her first on-page murder in the opening chapter, and you know she’s killed before. She’s a ruthless badass consumed with her goals of finding her kidnapped sister and stopping the murder of her people, the Ruined, for no reason other than they have magical abilities and can be dangerous. Think X-Men vs mundane humans for an alternative comparison. I loved her from her very first moment. Being a Ruined with no magic, wow, she was so convinced she was ‘useless’ but she proved to everyone that she’s just as capable of running a kingdom as the proper heir, her younger sister. Oh man, I just keep thinking if Celaena Sardothian thought she was a dangerous badass she’s got NOTHING on Em, who does actually murder people on page and doesn’t go around boasting about it.
Cas is sweet, a gentle and kind ruler deep down, who learns to think for himself and comes to conclusions perhaps others might not agree with. He is open-minded and willing to change what he’s been raised to believe in. I really adored him, there’s really nothing better than a genuine nice guy. I’m adding him to my very short list of book boyfriends.
The writing engaged me from the very first page. I loved the descriptions and the world building and every character development left me keen for more. The pacing was flawless, leaving me keen to turn every page and gasping at the revelations revealed.
The only downside? I wish I’d had a map. Maybe there is one in the hardcover version, which I am totally buying. I don’t normally continue on with series, I’m more than willing to give the first book a go, but this book has thrillified me to the point that I want a hardcover version. I’ll be pre-ordering the second book too, and I don’t even do pre-orders.
Six freaking stars, I loved it so much and it’s one of my favourites for 2016.