The blurb of Perfect Ruin is quite misleading: ‘The loss of her older brother taught Morgan a lesson: he jumped and fell…Morgan resumes as normal a life as possible as she struggles to accept her brother’s decision.’ Morgan’s brother is not dead, as this suggests. Morgan didn’t lose her brother, her brother lost his eyesight. Also Morgan doesn’t struggle to accept his decision, because she too is curious about what life is like outside of Internment, the isolated world in the clouds where thinking about what else could be out there is frowned upon.
Morgan is the protagonist, and although she isn’t struggling to face the loss of her brother, she is going through a lot of other dramas. Her fiancee, Basil, hasn’t kissed her yet. Her mother seems to be taking a lot of pills, and her father isn’t around much thanks to the murder of Daphne Leander. Her family is very protective of her, so she’s shocked when she started to learn about what really happens in Internment. She goes through quite an arc of character development, that’s mostly due to discovering the truth. Although she’s quite an unassuming character – not to say her perspective wasn’t interesting, but her slow discovery meant a slow paced novel. Lex is her brother, and I found him and Alice (his wife) the most intriguing characters. I also liked Pen, Morgan’s best friend and am really interested in how the character relationships will change after the final development in the last chapter.
The only other notable main character was Basil, the boyfriend, and he was just so nice. At one point, I was convinced this was just going to be another one of those love triangle stories, but I was pleasantly surprised by the character devotion to their betrothed. I think Judas will add something interesting to the plot in the sequel, because it will question whether the betrothed have to get married if they are able to make their own decisions.
Her friendship with Pen was strong, and I liked how no matter what they remained friends, even in really tough circumstances, which I don’t think you often find in YA. Maybe this is because the betrothed aspect of Internment life means that your friends have to be used to your parter and they have plenty of time to do this! I really wanted to have more of Pen and Thomas as their relationship was equal parts argrivating and adorble, but I still loved it!
Perfect Ruin builds a whole world in the sky, and the customs are something to get used to. Something new was revealed about both the characters and the world in almost every chapter, which made the world building slow and successful, especially considering the second book will be in a different setting and so we needed to know all of the important details about Internment ASAP. I found the world hard to visualise, because how humans are able to live amongst the clouds isn’t really explained, neither is the train system. There was nothing out of the ordinary in Internment, it was basically a typical town but in the sky – at least, I assume it’s in the sky, that wasn’t clearly expressed. Internment blended dystopian societies from other novels by using the sectors, but unusually there was monarchy at the head of the hierarchy. I had the feeling that the city was a blend of sci-fi advancements and medieval structure. I feel like the only main thing that wasn’t explicit was the role of the monarchy, particularly when the people seemed placated rather easily, there wasn’t a rebellion in the usual dystopian sense. Celeste, the princess, and Azure, the prince, had an interesting role to play, but as readers we were only made aware of their exsistence close to the end of the novel. Celeste especiall, I hope, is going to be a main character in the rest of the series.
Because of the world building the whole novel was rather slow, despite this I was still engaged. I never felt overwhelemed with information, and the gradual introduction to the world I greatly appreciated. There were slower sections, of course there were! But these were balanced by reveals or plot twists that made me want to keep reading.
I’m intrigued enough to continue the series if given the opportunity and cicumstance. I picked up Perfect Ruin in my local library, and even though it’s probably not a book I’ll be buying to read again, I would definitely be interested in continuing the series. Reading Perfect Ruin has also made me really want to pick up Lauren Destefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, which my library also has, luckily! Overall, I enjoyed my first book from this new author! – despite the incredibly misleading blurb! I’m going to give Perfect Ruin 3.5 stars, becaise it was engaging and unique.