Book Review: Perfect Ruin
ashley | I’ve been eyeing Lauren DeStefano for a while now, but it’s taken me this long to actually pick up one of her books. I received an ARC of the second installment of the Internment Chronicles set for 2015 release, so I figured I better start from the beginning with Perfect Ruin and get a taste for what’s to come.
Morgan is an interesting lead, she’s not the overly fearless and headstrong girl you would expect to see in this kind of dystopian book, she’s actually happy with her circumstances and seems to make the most of things. She’s a big dreamer and has a strong curiosity, but she sees the beauty in her surroundings. I also really love her connection with Basil. They’re betrothed, not by choice, but they seem really well matched and it’s kind of heartwarming seeing their first kiss and seeing them start to fall in love. It’s such a pure and innocent thing and you really get a sense that they just want to take care of each other and be there for each other, a maturity that is incredibly rare among sixteen year olds. It’s an interesting concept that makes the betrothed situation not seem like such a bad one, if you end up happy like they are.
That same love is strong between Morgan’s brother Lex and his wife Alice. Two other really interesting characters; they carry a lot more darkness and edginess with them, some real pain, but through all of that (or maybe because of it), they are also so well matched and so in love. But none of this seems cheesy, none of this is over the top or obsessive like a lot of YA books make the mistake of. It all seems incredibly genuine and inspiring.
Actually, I love all the characters. Even the snobby princess is intriguing and interesting and adds to the motley crew of rebels. It’s such a great mix of people, the hopeless hopefuls, the skeptics, the loyals. There is such a strong bond between them all and DeStefano brings them all together so perfectly, I couldn’t think of a better crowd to be hanging out in close quarters with.
Of course, this is more than just a love story and Internment is more than just this perfectly isolated paradise. Things start to crumble, there is a murder, there is a fugitive, there are a lot of questions that seem to conflict with the truths that they’ve always known. Morgan’s world starts to unravel and she starts to grow as a character, which is really great to read about. This book sets the scene for what is to come, I suppose there isn’t a whole lot that happens but it’s gripping and you fly right through it, anxious to see what the fate of Internment and what the fate of these rebels will be.
I really liked how DeStefano revealed certain elements of this world she created without over explaining. Sometimes this is frustrating in a book if it’s an important piece of a story that is out of context, but I like that we’re trusted to figure out small pieces of this world and left to assign our own meaning to certain things that aren’t common in our world. It’s like DeStefano trusts her readers to be intelligent and creative enough to tie it all together without having to hold our hands. She also covers all the bases, every time I tried to play devil’s advocate, she was always one step ahead of me. I like having my doubts challenged and my theories shattered. This reads like a very smart book, the prose is so smooth and just carries you along so quickly and the conversations are realistic and common, very relatable. These days, that seems a bit rare.
I’m actually thankful it took me so long to read this because I don’t think I could have waited for the next book in this series. I loved everything about this and was so hooked at the cliff hanger ending; it would have killed me if I didn’t have the second installment waiting to be read. Stay tuned for that review on Thursday.