I was definitely drawn in by the world and the premise of this book. I didn’t want to put it down, even when it became clear how predictable and simple the plot line was. I wanted to see if it got better, if we got twists and spirals of deceit and vengeance! We didn’t. Fortunately though, the ending is not one I predicted from the beginning, and that was a redeeming point for me. So in spite of some issues, I enjoyed reading Ruined.
The writing is rather simple. It’s strong and full of character, but it unfortunately lacks a unique voice. In the beginning there is potential for a dark, deadly tale of vengeance and retribution, and the writing hooks you. It’s engaging, especially since the story opens with Em and her two friends killing Mary and her guards. It was action packed, dark, and exhilarating. Unfortunatly, the rest of the story takes a much softer turn. If that's what you like, then this book is perfect for you!
Romance plays a huge part in this book. Once Em and the Prince meet, we follow their journey to romance, with only a few scenes including the danger and vengeance and darker plans until near the end. The romance is not instant, and it’s actually very adorable, but there’s not much connection or dimention. Cas, unfortunately, feels more like he’s there merely for romantic interest as he never spoke up until he met her, and by then he only ever repeated what she said. It didn’t seem like he thought for himself, making it hard to connect to him and the romance. He was the reason why Em lost sight of her determination and will. But he’s also the reason why she began to see things clearly, why she developed so well. It was enjoyable to read.
There were a lot of compelling discoveries and secrets that only made me want more and more, however. Especially once we met Olivia. Her character is what I expected out of Em, and it leaves immense potential for the next book to be as dark as I hoped this one would be.
Overall, Ruined is an intriguing fantasy read that, despite its flaws, had me turning pages quickly.