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I Belong

Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

ruinedTitle: Ruined

Author: Amy Tintera

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Ruined (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062396609 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062396600 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed


Amy Tintera’s new YA fantasy trilogy blends the romance of Kiera Cass’s Selection series and the epic stakes of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

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 everything 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.

Quick & Dirty: An excellently written story with fantastic characters, a gripping plot and forbidden love.

Opening Sentence: The wheels of the carriage creaked as they rolled across the dirt road.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

It’s been quite some time since I’ve rated an ARC five stars but Ruined managed to creep over the 4.5 line!

Let’s begin with the characters. One word: mind-blowing (is that two words?!). From the sadistic kings and queens, to fierce Emelina and kind-hearted Casimir to the stubborn but funny Aren, loyal Galo and sweet Damian; they each contributed towards making this story a brilliant reading experience. Heed my warning, though. Don’t become too attached because just like Game of Thrones, Tintera does not hold back when killing them off! Without revealing any spoilers, I cannot believe how many main characters died in this story. I understand that it’s centred around revenge and war but seriously, give someone a break!

“Good luck,” Galo said, then frowned. “Is that the appropriate thing to say in this situation?”
Cas lifted one shoulder. There wasn’t much to say to someone who was headed out to meet the woman he’d been ordered to marry. Try not to vomit might have been the best choice.

The romance was simultaneously adorable and heartbreaking. Prince Cas is forced to marry Em (thinking she’s Princess Mary) and although Em herself orchestrated the entire plan, she’s not too pleased about marrying her enemy. The story shows that even in the worst circumstances, if it’s meant to be it will find a way. Yes, I’m a hopeless bookish romantic but I’m a stickler for forbidden love and in this case, there could be nothing worse than Em and Cas falling in love; perfect.

She hadn’t just planned to kill Cas. She’d imagined smiling as she sank a sword into his chest.
“I don’t think this is who I want to be,” she said, her voice shaking.
“You did what you had to do,” Cas said.
“I did wat I chose to do.” Tears spilled over her cheeks, staining his shirt.
“Then choose better next time.”

I enjoyed the banter and the poor attempts to dampen their growing feelings. Some of their arguments were too funny, especially when everyone underestimates Em and she shows them up.

“Well, I’m apologizing anyway!” she yelled, making everyone turn around and stare at them.
He rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry if I doubt the sincerity of an apology screamed at me.”
“I tried being nice. That just seemed to make you more angry.”
“When were you being nice? Was it somewhere between you taking me hostage and yelling at me?”
“I saved your life.”
He snorted. “Your bar for nice is awfully low.”

Strong female protagonists out to change the world are the best and Em is stronger than most because despite being born in a powerful family, she has no Ruined magic. Considered ‘useless’ by other Ruined, she manages to prove how powerful she really is even without magic.

Aside from Cas, one of my favourite characters was Aren. As well as Em’s bodyguard, he’s her best friend and I admired his loyalty, despite having lost almost everyone he cared about. At least Em found love, Aren didn’t have anyone apart from her and Damian. I hope something blossoms between Aren and Iria because they’d make an interesting couple.

“Anxious, then. Not everyone is as tough as they appear, you know.”
“And not everyone is as weak as they pretend.”

An excellently written story with fantastic characters, a gripping plot and a forbidden love.

Notable Scene:

Em lifted her head, fixing her gaze straight ahead.

No one feared Emelina Flores, the useless daughter of the most powerful queen Ruina had ever known.
But they would.

Ruined Series:

1. Ruined

2. Avenged (May 2, 2017)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Ruined. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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