Monday, November 17, 2014

Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Perfect Ruin, the first book in the Internment series by Lauren DeStefano, follows Morgan Stockhour, a 16 year old Academy student living on Internment. The history of Internment is explained as the first humans were considered greedy, and the god of the ground decided that he should destroy them and start over. The god of the sky thought the first humans were too clever to destroy, so he scooped up a section of the earth and placed them in the sky.

The people of Internment are taught that to try and leave would anger the sky god, and anyone who tries to leave is horribly marked in some way or another. They call this jumping. Morgan's brother, Lex, was a jumper, and this has granted Morgan outcast status at her school. She does not have a lot of people in her life, mostly Pen, her best friend, and Basil, the boy she has been betrothed to since before they were born. Her father is mostly absent, working as a patrolman, and her mother spends most of her time in a stupor from the medicine she takes to help her cope with the harsh realities of Internment.

Morgan is a daydreamer, and she constantly longs to know what the ground below them would be like. Would it be the same, just with more space to spread out on? Or is there another ground below the earth that would make her feel as trapped as she feels on Internment? When the first murder in over a generation happens on Internment, these questions Morgan has only start to grow and fester. She doesn't believe the boy they arrested is the person responsible for the murder, and her disbelief leads her to make some dangerous decisions.

Perfect Ruin is beautifully written, with rich, vivid imagery and impeccable world building. The book is a slow burn, but almost deliciously so. It gives you time to understand this new world and the characters in them, without shoving you face first into an adventure without all of the facts. You get to experience Morgan's life, understand exactly how she felt and how her changed throughout the story. However, once the action does pick up towards the end, it does feel a little rushed, as if we went from zero to sixty within the span of a few paragraphs. Destefano also gives this same treatment to Morgan's betrothed, Basil. While Basil was always supportive, in the beginning he was mostly bland and silent; a presence that hardly mattered and was easy to ignore. It's almost as if DeStefano realized this halfway through, and decided to ramp up his male lead heart throb factor exponentially.

Other than those two minor hiccups, Perfect Ruin is one of the most beautifully written dystopian novels of late, and should not be missed by any fans of the genre. The sequel, Burning Kingdoms, is set for release on March 10, 2015.

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