Perfect Ruin

perfruin

Do y’all have any Ollie’s near you?

Ollie’s just opened up about two months ago near my house. Essentially, it’s like a Dollar General and a Ross had a baby, then they gave it to a flea market to raise. It’s a dangerous place – I’d never heard of it before I pulled in on a late-night joyride whim, and then as soon as I walked through those automated doors, I saw it: books. So, so many books. So. Many. Books.

And I don’t know what came over me, but I lost my senses. I bought 12 books and when I walked back to Purple Rain (my car), I realized I had two grocery bags full of books and I couldn’t tell you the first thing about any of them.

When I got home, one particularly caught my eye as I was putting it away because the cover was so beautiful:

bunking

However, as I sat down to read this book, I see “INTERNMENT CHRONICLES #2”).

Exasperated sigh.

I wondered if the trouble of ordering the first book was worth it, but decided I didn’t actually care that much about my hard earned money and boy am I glad I did.

When I first started Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, I was a little apprehensive. Like, maybe more than apprehensive; underwhelmed. The writing felt melodramatic and a little disjointed, and I couldn’t really find the story’s groove.

As the story progressed, though, I became enamored with it and the world DeStefano created – truly kind of enchanted like I haven’t been in a long time. The premise of this story – a world separate from the ground floating 35,000 feet in the air, the culture and world that can exist separate from the mores and social structures we have created and live with here was so interesting. Economically, socially, and maybe to a lesser degree politically, DeStefano’s Internment was so refreshing as a setting and a world, and it was well formed without too much info-dumping.

I enjoyed our protagonist, Morgan, though like with the rest of the story at the beginning I was less convinced – still, I enjoyed  she was not “typically” strong he way most YA heroines end up being even if they don’t start out that way. Her strength was in her emotional vulnerability, and I know some folks will get irritated with her…naivete, but in a sea of Feyre’s and Katniss’ and other “Strong Female Characters,” Morgan is a nice change of pace. I’m not going to say she is my favorite character ever, but by the end of the story I felt like she was someone I’d known for years, an old friend.

And what time it took the story to get going and take shape, DeStefano laid down some solid characterization and fleshed out a beautiful, beautiful friendship between Morgan and Margaret – “Pen” – her best friend. This is the most interesting relationship of the whole story to me, and I think Pen will be the most interesting, nuanced character to most people who read it. I will say that I’ve read other reviews criticizing one of Morgan’s other main relationships with her betrothed Basil to be a bit bland, but I’ll counter with this:

  1. What if that was the point? To illustrate how Morgan’s life was and was supposed to be before the story starts happening, and before she gets dragged into this strange change in her life and her home. Basil and her betrothal are symbols of Internment, a home she grows to see major flaws in but ultimately can’t shake – doesn’t even want to, really.
  2. I wonder if it is so much “boring” as it is one of the few really supportive, healthy relationships among books of its kind? You can really only argue they support each other too unconditionally – Basil is more guilty of this than Morgan, and I will concede Basil does not get the same level of characterization as, say, even Thomas, Pen’s betrothed. But I think, especially after reading the second book (the third installment is en route to my house), that is is intentional on DeStefano’s part…but more on that when I discuss the sequel.

This was a fairly quick read, and I think if you’re looking for a new, fresher take on dystopian/utopian/alternate universe type stories, YA, and books that rely on characterization and worldbuilding, I would recommend this book and series. I’m definitely going to check out DeStefano’s other books when I finish this series. It’s not perfect, but for fear of spoilers I’ll wait to discuss those in more detail when I write about Burning Kingdoms.

Has anyone else read The Internment Chronicles? What did you think?

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my first Top 5 Wednesday – see you then! I hope everyone is surviving the first full work week of 2016. 😉

 

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