{Review} RUINED by Amy Tintera

B O O K   T R A I L E R:

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

  THE WHEELS OF THE CARRIAGE creaked as they rolled across the dirt road. The noise echoed through the quiet forest.
  Em crouched behind a tree, tightening each finger individually around her sword. A squirrel darted across the road and disappeared into the thick brush. She couldn't see the princess or her guards yet.

(pg. 1, US hardcover edition)

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“Kind, reasonable, thoughtful. It wasn't 'love' or an admission of wild, passionate feelings, but he realized he liked her three words more. 'Love' would have been easy, another easy lie in a long line of lies. 'Love' would be easy to dismiss.” 

~Casimir, RUINED

Do you guys remember a few months ago when I had a weird dream where I could reach into a book, pull out its weapon, and use it in a video game world? That was all inspired by RUINED by Amy Tintera. This cover is even fiercer in person, but I'll talk about cover design down below.

Up here, I want to talk about RUINED, which is definitely one of my 2016 favorite reads so far. I loved this book SO much. It was one of those books that's hard to put down. You don't want to sleep, you don't want to work, you just want to read!!! I flew through the story, than was so sad that I had to wait a year to read more. (But thankfully, it's only a duology, so it will be completed next year!) I decided to dig out my copy of Tintera's debut novel REBOOT, which I own, but had never read, and dove into another of the author's worlds right away because I just wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet.

RUINED centers around Princess Emelina, a girl bent on revenge. Two neighboring kingdoms have taken everything from her: They've killed her parents and kidnapped her sister, the heir to the throne of Ruina. Even though Em is the eldest sister, she won't inherit because she is not Ruined and has no magical abilities. How can someone so weak rule over a kingdom that was once so strong? Her only goal in life is now to save her sister. Em kills the crown princess of a neighboring kingdom, one who decapitated her father in order to marry a prince. She disguises herself as Princess Mary and goes to marry Prince Casimir herself. She vows to destroy both kingdoms from the inside, avenge Ruina, and save her sister. She never expected that Prince Casimir might actually be rational, unlike his father. That he might be kind. That she might fall for him.... Could love be the weapon that kills the ultimate revenge?

This book, this book, this book! It has fantasy. It has action. It has romance. It has feels! I can't even. Sure, there are parts that could have been a bit more fleshed out, but that's what Book Two is for, right? All that mattered was that Tintera's writing was so good, it pulled me right in--from the very intense beginning to the even more intense finale. I'm excited to learn more about Ruina and see the powers of the Ruined moving forward, and to see what the future could possibly hold for now star-crossed lovers Emelina and Casimir, whose kingdoms are on opposing sides of a brewing war.

It's hard to talk about this without giving away spoilers, though elements of the story are, of course, expected, but it's the journey to get to them that makes this story so much fun. If you're a fan of books with political intrigue or subterfuge, or if you like YA fantasy that's a little darker and takes a more twisted path to achieve its goals because it's not afraid to get its hands a little messy, then you're going to want to add RUINED to your collection. Plus, it's just pretty (see below), so you want it for your collection anyway, right? ^.~

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( kissing; Casimir partly unbuttons Em's dress while they're making out while on the run, but they're disrupted )
Language: PG ( some standard innuendo about wedding nights, etc. )
Violence: PG13+ ( A couple of decapitations, and a really gross scene at the end when someone's heart is ripped out. The story begins with the main character attacking and murdering a princess and her guards in order to impersonate them. )
Other:  --

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

So pretty!!!!!

Up close, you can see an amazing texture in the background of the cover's design:

The title is embossed--and shiny, too!

Plus, the cover is silver, which isn't cheap to produce!

When you take off the book's jacket and peek beneath, there is this really cool, "dirty" texture marring the white that hints at imperfection:

It's a really cool looking cover that will get both genders picking up the book to give it a try1

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  RUINED
Author: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review

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.