Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BR: Perfect Ruin

by Lauren DeStefano
The Internment Chronicles; book I
the internment of enemy aliens during the First World War: detention, confinement, custody, captivity, imprisonment, incarceration.

I googled it so you didn't have to. 

Summary (goodreads)

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.


My Thoughts

Perfect Ruin is ambitious and imaginative, but personally, for me, it fell short of my expectations. I'm not sure if it's falling short my standards for Lauren DeStefano's work, the hype surrounding the series, or my personal hopes, but I was disappointed, despite some things I genuinely enjoyed.

Morgan, the main character, is instantly engaging. DeStefano really brought her voice and character to life, and in turn, brought the world of Internment to life (well, more like life, 8/10). I adored her relationship with Lex and Pen, and I found Alice's character wonderful as well. I was so much less enthused about Basil-- he's bland, forgettable, and solely there to be a "perfect love interest who pretty much does not exist if not for loving the protagonist". I mean, you know when we all get frustrated that female characters in movies have no reason to be there apart from being eye candy/love interest? That's Basil with sexes reversed, and that made him annoying. He's boringly (yes, boringly) devoted to Morgan. 

DeStefano really excels at character relationships, but I felt that she only really captured my interest with two of them: the sibling relationship with Lex, and the friendship with Pen. I liked the unpredictable Pen that I couldn't really get a handle on, but I'll admit, I was waiting around for some big twist surrounding her character... just something more.

For me, where this novel went 'wrong' was well.. the plot. Or moreso, the pacing. 200 pages in, I was still waiting for something more interesting (okay, well, more interesting than a murder) to happen. Actually, not even plot-point wise, I was just hoping to feel some sort of urgency, some sign that I was fully invested in these characters' futures, but that only marginally happened. Towards the end, the pacing picked up but I felt like I already slugged through too many pages. I'll give props to the author in that things happen in her book-- big plot ideas actually occur, instead of you waiting around an entire trilogy for the "big thing" to happen. I didn't really see the ending coming (yay!); the flow into this big event was exciting, however the big event itself felt clunky. 

The world-building of Internment was interesting as well; there were no glaring flaws, but I'll admit it wasn't even close to being the best I've seen in terms of an engrossing non-earth setting. 

Where DeStefano shines is with her subtle yet gorgeous writing that really makes Morgan's voice believable, the dialogue great, and the book readable (readable as in, it moves smoothly). The plot and pacing didn't really do it for me as the shifts between events never felt "on point". Some characters fell very flat for me, but I can only hope they have their time in the spotlight in the upcoming books. While off to a shaky start, I still think The Internment Chronicles is ambitious and has plenty of potential to knock readers off their feet. 

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of dystopian "government is too controlling" books, fans of Lauren DeStefano
Acknowledgements: none in ARC :(

7/10 - because it was not quite there, in a sense. I expected a lot more from it but I felt that even DeStefano's lovely prose wasn't enough to get me fully invested in the characters (basically, I liked the characters, but I didn't really care for them) and in turn the plot felt clunky as the characters moved through it. The world-building, while it wasn't shoddy, wasn't really spectacular either, but I'm curious to see where this series goes.

source: publisher
author website / twitter / tumblr / instagram (where her cat to non-cat content is a delightful 25:1) 


  1. Great review. I'm curious about this one because the cover is pretty and it's by Lauren DeStefano. Oh, and the story sounds interesting too. I can see it has some issues though. I'm glad it's readable at least.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  2. Thanks for the review! I'm still excited for this book, but I have yet to finish the Chemical Garden series. This sounds like a lovely winter read, so I think I will wait a month or so :)


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