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New Fantasy Series | Book Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

Ruined is a fantastic new YA fantasy series you won’t want to miss!

Book Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

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ruined amy tintera book review

Title & Author: Ruined by Amy Tintera

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Adventure

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Series: Ruined #1

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.”

Revenge, Best Served Cold

Ruined is a great book to read after someone’s wronged you. It’s so easy to imagine yourself as Em, exacting swift justice.

I loved the set-up of the book: Wanting to infiltrate her oppressors from the inside, Em – who belongs to a magic-gifted race – poses as a princess in order to marry the king’s son to discover where her sister is being held prisoner (and kill as many of the royal family as possible in the process).

The idea of unwilling partners – Em and the prince, Cas, do NOT like each other – is one of my favorites. It brought a natural tension to the story that drew me in.

I really enjoying the pacing and was continually enjoying the surges of action that popped up. With Ruined, I felt compelled to read and enjoyed all the court politics (like between Em and the queen).

This book has a fantasy setting, but the magic was used minimally and with precision. My only real complaint is that abilities of the magical race, the Ruina, were not always explained in detail. This could absolutely could have been intentionally left out to build up the next book, but I would have loved to learn more about the history and skills.

The details that were included were well explained and interesting.

Cas is definitely one of my favorite male heroes! His relationship with Em and his growth throughout the book was the BEST. I immediately felt connected to him and his future.

An important note is that Ruined offers alternating points of view between Em and Cas. Their voices felt very distinct, and I liked how this type of storytelling allows for missing moments in time to be accounted for.

I appreciated how Em wasn’t a perfect, cookie-cutter heroine. She tries to be sneaky in the castle, but often reveals her true feelings. And, she’s strong but her strength fails in realistic ways.


If you’re looking for an exciting new fantasy series with epic battles, interesting characters and a swoony romance, look no further. Ruined offers surprises and intrigue around every corner – recommended.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Got My Book

    Have you tried “The Pillars of Reality” series (by Jack Campbell)? I
    ask because your description of Em reminds me a lot of Mari in that
    series. The first book is The Dragons of Dorcastle.

  • That sounds convincing, indeed! I am suffering from a reading slump so this will hopefully cure me!!


  • Tania Stanwood

    Looks great! I recommend Ben Eliahu’s book Snowflake River. It’s fantasy, but so very well written that you forget it’s not real. Very good read. snowflakeriver.com his site for it.

    • Angel Haze

      I’ll have to take a look at that one!