Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles, #1
Published: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
356 pages (ARC)
Genre: Young adult science fiction (dystopian)
Acquired this book: From Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Book Depository || Chapters/Indigo}

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder—betrothed to the victim—but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or who she will lose.
Perfect Ruin is the first book I’ve read my Lauren DeStefano, and I can say with certainty it won’t be my last. This book was beautifully written with a unique and compelling concept, great characters, and fantastic world-building.

From the moment you’re introduced to the protagonist, Morgan, you know she’s a daydreamer. She’s lived a safe, sheltered life on Internment, a floating island far above the ground, but she can’t help but wonder what’s beyond the edge. It’s like she’s too big for the small island - her thoughts and dreams stretch beyond, even though there’s no actual hope of going beyond. Life on Internment is very structured and monotonous; everything is laid out for each inhabitant, including when they can be born, when they die, and who they marry.

I really liked Morgan. I related to her tendency to daydream and want something more, something beyond her safe little life. She was a loyal friend, and she tried hard to keep her family happy. I enjoyed her observations and memories and felt like I really connected with her. The secondary characters were great too - each one had a purpose and a distinct personality. I especially liked Morgan’s best friend, Pen, who was snarky and spirited. She wasn’t always what she appeared, but I liked trying to figure her out, and I loved the relationship between her and Morgan. They disagreed and had fights, but when it came down to it, they were true friends, which is always nice to see in YA books.

Basil, Morgan’s betrothed, was quiet and unassuming, but he quickly worked his way into my heart with his actions and the way he treated Morgan. This is one of those rare dystopians where I actually enjoyed the romance and thought it enhanced the book rather than taking away from it. Most dystopian romances seem to be instalove, probably because the characters are thrown together in dire situations; you can never quite figure out why they even like each other, let alone what makes them fall in love, but I could see why Morgan and Basil cared for each other, and I enjoyed watching them actually fall in love.

My only complaint about Perfect Ruin was the pacing and lack of action. It felt like an introduction - to the characters, the world, the religion (which played a huge part in the lives of the people on Internment), the concept of Internment being a floating city and there being very little known about the ground below. We got to see a lot of Morgan’s daydreaming, learn about the history and customs of the people of Internment, and learn about her family and friends, but there were so many questions, and almost none of them were answered. Most dystopian books are action-packed with people fighting, figuring out plans to overthrow the rulers, get out of/off wherever they are, etc., but there wasn’t much of that in Perfect Ruin. However, with that being said, the writing was so beautiful and so compelling that even when it seemed like the story was going a bit slow, I didn’t really mind and I found it hard to put the book down. I enjoyed getting to know Morgan, I enjoyed the anticipation of wondering what was going to happen, if/how they’d get off Internment, and what would happen to her and her friends and family. 

With an exciting ending that left so many questions, I think the second book in the Internment Chronicles will be incredible. Despite its slow pacing and a plethora of unanswered questions, Perfect Ruin was a wonderful setup for a series with a lot of potential. Beautiful, heartbreaking, and enchanting, Perfect Ruin quickly made its way to my list of top five favourite dystopians. 

I just looked up book #2 on GoodReads, and apparently it doesn’t come out until February 2015. 2015!!!!

Have you read Perfect Ruin? What did you think? If you haven't read it, does it sound like something you'd be interested in? How do you feel about romance in dystopian novels? What are some of your favourite dystopian books?



  1. I definitely enjoyed this one, but I agree that the beginning was much slower with all the internal musings and thinking about how things were. The end with all the action was so much more interesting!

  2. 2015 is torture. They can't do that. I really hope to read it soon. Thx for the review


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