Publisher: Harper Collins (2nd June 2016)
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—she is determined to get revenge. Her plan is simple: she will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear, including his son. The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. (Publishers' blurb)
I received this book in my Fairy Loot crate knowing nothing about it. Despite that, this has ended up being the best YA fantasy that I've read for a long time. The writing and characters were amazing and it had a freshness about it that's sometimes lacking in this genre.
There were some familiar aspects (royal family and girl who must get married etc) but I really loved the revenge story slant on this. Emelina was a seriously tough, awesome YA heroine and I liked how different scenarios were filtered through her viewpoint. For example, when she met an enemy she was usually distracted by all of the different ways she could kill them.
The romance was also amazing! I'm not a fan of a love story being crow-barred in for no reason. In this, the relationship was integral to the plot and one hundred percent sucked me in. There were plenty of obstacles and moments of tension to keep me entertained.
Another great part of this book was the brilliant balance between the aforementioned softer moments and some really gripping action scenes! The magical abilities in the book were well-thought out (and horrifying at times), which fed into the building plot conflict.
I would strongly recommend this to fans of romance and fantasy. Amy Tintera said it best when discussing the book: "As I was writing Ruined, I realized it was for girls like me - the ones who want a love story with a prince as much as they want an angry girl inciting a revolution."
If that sounds as great to you as it does to me, then go out and buy this book!
If you liked the sound of this, now try these:
-The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
-The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
-The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
-The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon