- Page Count: 416
- Release Date: May 2, 2017
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
In the sequel to Ruined, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.
Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.
But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.
Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.
If you like castles, princes, magic, battles, and YA fantasy worlds in general then definitely check out this series!
So remember how crazy Olivia went at the end of the first book? That girl was just getting started… there is absolutely no reasoning with her now as she storms around tearing out people’s hearts for the thrill of it. She makes Emelina co-queen, but doesn’t listen to any pleas for peace. The Ruined have been hunted for so long that Olivia’s not about to let Cas or pretty much any other human live.
A lot of alliances get shifted as Cas kind of loses his power to Jovita, who wants to attack the Ruined. Cas starts out being ashamed that his father hunted the Ruined and ashamed to be from Lera. He’s pretty quick to give up if something gets hard, but then starts to learn how to lead from Em’s example.
Meanwhile Em is torn between her love for Cas, her duty to her people, and her ties to a sister who’s becoming a different type of threat. Then Prince August of Olso shows up with a marriage alliance for Em… and he definitely makes the story interesting (but it’s never a love triangle).
Cas and Em still had their cute moments, but their relationship wasn’t the focus of this book. Aren actually had one of the strongest stories and I really liked his character here!
This book felt like a really interesting chess board at times with how all of the characters kept coming together and then rearranging into new groups for sneaky plans, partnerships, or kidnappings. The story kept moving at a decent pace, so I was never bored even if there wasn’t a ton happening.
I think one of my stars for this book is out of its association with the first… I did like this story but am missing the enthusiasm I had before. The story here is definitely slower than Ruined and doesn’t have the same sense of adventure or danger.
Basically, this second book is a lot of planning and creating alliances until the last 1/3 picks up. So it wasn’t the most intense or emotional read, but the characters & world are still strong!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.