Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on October 1, 2013
Published by Simon & Schuster
Read From: 3.15.14 - 3.16.14
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 her innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find - or who she will lose.
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Coverly love all the way! It’s so PRETTY! Even with the character impersonator in the background – it’s still oh-so-gorgeous. I almost bought this book solely for the cover, but stopped myself, recalling my experience with this Author’s previous trilogy.
Characters: Morgan is a curious young woman, with an undying need to see below. She tries to convince herself that she’s content with the little world of Internment, but she’s not. I really liked her. She’s unassuming and innocent – but not naïve – and, as I said, curious. There just wasn’t anything to dislike about her! It took me while to decide what I thought of Basil. I didn’t dislike him at all – he’s very gentlemanly and caring and gallant. But he also didn’t have much of a personality. I never felt like I really got to know him. I like Judas as he is right now (more on that in the romance section). He’s haunted by the past, passionate, and quiet. I hope isn’t ruined.
The Romance: It’s been a looong time since I’ve “shipped” (yes, I used the term!) a couple as hard as I do Morgan and Basil. I just absolutely love them together. And I really, really don’t want Judas to become a love interest. He isn’t in Perfect Ruin, and I want it to stay that way. Because I’ll hate him if he comes in between Morgan and Basil, and I’ll hate Morgan if she ruins what she has with Basil. And I don’t want to hate Judas, and I don’t want to hate Morgan.
Plot: Internment is a small floating island that was, according to their history, taken from the world below by the god in the sky and set apart from the wicked influences of other people. No one on Internment has ever left. Anyone who tries is struck down with madness and physical disability. Morgan’s brother is a jumper – someone who could not stay away from Internment’s edge. He’s haunted by the experience, and he’s lost sight in both eyes because of his curiosity. So Morgan should know firsthand how dangerous it is to think about the world below. But she can’t help herself. And when Internment’s perfect world is shaken by their first murder in a generation, she begins to realize that Internment may not be the perfect and fair world that everyone thinks it is. I loved Internment. It was just fascinating! It’s futuristic, but has a bit of a 40’s vibe, and I must say it’s one of the most believable closed societies I’ve read (more on that later). The first half of Perfect Ruin is spent introducing us to this isolated floating world and its rules and traditions. But when the book threatens to become a little slow, murder happens! Is the plot predictable? Probably a little bit. But I still really enjoyed the world building and the mystery.
Believability: There’s lots going for this closed society in terms of believability. The government – or monarchy, in this case – controls every aspect of one’s life, they kill dissenters, they keep people’s faith and loyalty through myth (except they don’t set their king up as a god), neighbors are required – and do – report suspicious behavior, and keep very close tabs on citizens who may not be agreeable. They even have a form of secret police! People who deal with potential troublemakers.
Writing Style: First person, present tense. It was almost as good as Victoria Schwab – the only Author who can write in present tense and make me love it. Something has definitely happened with Lauren DeStefano’s writing since The Chemical Garden Trilogy. I don’t know what, but it’s improved massively. It’s poetic and rather beautiful now, conjuring up fantastic images.
Conclusion: I do hope that the sequels don’t become boring – [Spoiler] what with them now being on Earth’s surface. [End spoiler] And I really hope there isn’t a love triangle with Basil, Morgan, and Judas. I like all three of them! I don’t want romance to ruin them! I am really glad I decided to give Perfect Ruin a try after my disappointing experience with The Chemical Garden Trilogy. I can hardly believe they were written by the same person, to be quite honest. Perfect Ruin is beautifully written, it has a very well developed world, great characters, and isn’t boring. I hope The Internment Chronicles stays this good!
Recommended Audience: Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, great for fans of believable dystopian.