Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Disclaimer: All opinions are 100% honest and my own opinion. To know how I review my books and the YA Bookish News review policy, please go here. This is a nonspoiler book review.
ON INTERNMENT you can be anything you dream – a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker… Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There’s only one rule: you don’t approach THE EDGE. If you do, it’s already over.
Perfect Ruin is the first book in Lauren DeStefano’s riveting new series, the Internment Chronicles.
*Technically it’s a 4.75 out of 5 stars*
Can I just first start off with how beautiful and well-written this book is? Let’s take a look at an excerpt from the book
“I dream of an angry god in the sky, filling the atmosphere with lightning and inky swirls of wind, He has come alive from my textbook; he doesn’t show his face, but the maestro in an orchestra of elements.”– page 21
Lauren DeStefano is one of my favorite and inspirational authors because of her composition. The excerpt above is just one of example of what DeStefano is capable of. Her writing also allows me to have that same daydreaming feeling that Morgan Stockhour has which I suppose should be the purpose of the tone of the book?
Morgan Stockhour is the main protagonist in the story. She’s constantly daydreaming about the ground since Internment is this floating city in the sky. But when Internment’s usual routine was suddenly disrupted, that’s when Morgan and the city of Internment became chaotic. I sort of understand why the story is told in Morgan’s first person pov, but towards the end of Book 2 I have better understanding of why Morgan is narrating the story. In Perfect Ruin though, I could see the struggles that Morgan has to be put through as the only child of her parents that is not irrational. She has to prove to her parents that they don’t have another irrational child, since her brother, Lex (Alexander), jumped off the edge. I think most readers could understand from Morgan’s perspective because she has to be this responsible and independent child. But the truth is, she’s only 16. She does still need her parents. This builds up her anger towards Lex.
I think that Lex’s and Morgan’s sibling relationship is believable because they have this tense relationship because of Lex’s incident, but they are also still there for each other despite the incident. And I love how DeStefano tries to continue to display this message throughout the novel and even in Book 2.
As much as I love this book, there is one character that seems to fall flat even in Book 2. And that is Basil, Morgan’s betrothed. On Internment, there are decision-makers that gets to choose to pair a couple even before birth. To be honest, whenever I think of Basil’s and Morgan’s relationship, I don’t squeal or fangirl because I think it’s just too bland. However, I do like Pen’s and Thomas’s relationship (which I will get too later on). I think that DeStefano focuses too much on the other characters that she forgot to develop Basil’s character. I don’t connect with his character as much as I do with the other characters. Even in Book 2 (sorry guys, I keep talking about book 2 lol), I still just don’t quite connect with him. When I think of Basil, I just think: “Ok, Basil is Morgan’s betrothed.” That’s about it.
On the other hand, Pen’s and Thomas’s relationship…Oh my goodness. I just adore their relationship which possibly might have to do with the fact that Pen is probably one of my favorite characters in the story. Pen is just a vivacious character. She’s loyal to her beliefs and follows the rules. She’s a prodigy at map making and art. There’s a lot too like about Pen’s character. However, there’s a lot to know about her character as well. There are still some untold stories about Pen that I’m still trying to figure out. One of Pen’s favorite thing to do is to pick on her betrothed, Thomas. You could almost say that they bicker like an old married couple except Pen does most of the bickering but Thomas is so in love with Pen that he doesn’t even mind it.
The other character that I like in this book is Alice, Lex’s wife and Morgan’s sister-in-law. I feel like Alice is so similar to Morgan in a way that they could be a double of each other. Alice takes care of Lex because of Lex’s disability from the incident, but she sincerely loves him. And Alice is almost like Morgan’s mom or maybe sister figure because her Mom has some psychological issue so she isn’t always there to take care of Morgan.
Asides from the characters, I do like the world-building in this book too. I think that DeStefano is attempting to build this world for us so that we are able to visualize it. This world is essentially a utopian society that has basically gone wrong and is now considered a dystopian society. In a way, it makes the story more unique and darker than other dystopians. DeStefano’s writing is a little more darker, but it’s subtle. I think it’s mainly because the writing helps the story have justice to it. The book addresses issues such as questioning beliefs about religion, faith in the belief, society’s rules and functioning, and many more important issues that should be issued more often in YA. There are many mysteries yet to be unraveled and revelations contemplate about.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Perfect Ruin despite some minor underdevelopment with one of the characters. I’m not the type of person to particularly care much about the romance in stories, but I do like this one since it’s part of the society. I also like some of the topics that DeStefano address in this story. And lastly, her writing. It’s almost lyrical in a way which makes it all the better.