Ruined (Ruined, Book 1) by Amy Tintera
Synopsis: 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.
About the Author: Hi! I’m Amy Tintera, and I write novels for young adults. I grew up in Austin, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism. After receiving a masters in film at Emerson College I moved to Los Angeles, where I promptly discovered I didn’t enjoy working in the film industry, and went back to my first love, writing.
Genre: fantasy, young adult, romance
More Info: Hardcover, 368 pages, published by HarperTeen on May 3, 2016
Emelina Flores will do just about anything for revenge. After her parents are murdered and her sister, Olivia, is taken prisoner, Emelina has nothing to lose. She is willing to go to extraordinary lengths, such as killing Princess Mary of Vallos, taking her place, and marrying Prince Casimir of Lera. As the daughter of the King and Queen of Ruina, Emelina feels it is her responsibility to save her country and get revenge upon those who have hurt her people.
Even though she is the firstborn in a line of royalty, Em is “useless.” She has no extraordinary power represented by markings in the skin. The one drawback is that that magic is not explained in detail, the surface of that topic was only skimmed. This could be intentional, as there are some promises to new developments for their powers in the second book. Due to this weakness, she tries to prove her strength.
She is bloodthirsty, a fierce character. However, you can see into the heart beating within her chest. Her love for her sister, her loyalty to her people, and her generosity towards Cas shows that underneath her hard exterior (both mental and physical) is a soft side. Yet, she is still a badass. Such a contradictory combination, but consistent.
Despite being rejected by her own people she still attempts to save them, to avenge them. She makes a deal with the warriors of Olso, to attack and kill the royal family of Lera…until she meets Prince Casimir.
Married within a day of arriving at the palace, both Em and Cas are reluctant. At the wedding while countless killing scenarios run through Em’s head, she still saves the Prince when there is an attempt on his life. He is sweet to her, and although he is not always good with words, he eventually tries to get to know her. And what he finds, is not Princess Mary (though he is oblivious to this development). As Mary, Em is supposed to hate the Ruined for killing her parents, but when Em sees compassion that is so different from the harsh King of Lera she loses some of her credibility/secret persona. Em takes the Prince’s ignorance and helps him blossom his own ideas, so radical from his father’s.
To make change, Cas doesn’t have enough power yet. So he challenges his father’s rules. I enjoyed Cas’ dominance, since I considered him to be a slight pushover in regard to his family. His parents and cousin make him seem childish, and I’m glad that he pushed back at those boundaries, even though he didn’t 100% break the constraints. His circumstances have kept him down, and at the end of the story he has a chance to grow.
I like the relationship Cas had with his guard, Galo. It reminded me so much of Prince Dorian and Captain Westfall in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I also liked the surprise romance Galo had with another one of his soldiers. The casual gay love made me so happy. It wasn’t shown off and none of the other characters made a big deal about it, except Cas because his best friend had been holding out on him.
I won’t spoil the ending, but come on! I mean, I feel like deep down I knew that was going to happen. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger, and it borders between antagonizing and dreadful. It isn’t exactly happy, but it’s also not the worst ending in the world. It will certainly have me coming back for more when book two hits the shelves.
In total, the book was a blast to the past but with a refreshing twist. It seems so much like other YA novels, but with its own personality. It was surprising and also predictable. Overall, a fast-paced read with fluid and easy to follow writing.
Price-wise, I used a coupon so my copy wasn’t as expensive as the normal retail price. With the hardcover, it is pricey in locations such as Barnes and Noble. If you are unsure of this book, I would recommend buying it on Kindle for $9.99.
Buy it here: