Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tea Time: Perfect Ruin

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Perfect Ruin, Lauren DeStefano

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.

Cover-I honestly couldn't decide whether to look at this cover, or the new set of covers that were created for the Internment series. Both are absolutely dazzling. However, considering that the book I bought had this cover, I figured I'd stick with it.

It's so pretty. Honestly, I love the intricate drawing of the tree, gears, and the little ornaments. It's dazzling and innocent and technological all at the same time, and I think it really adds to the cover design as a whole. The stars and constellations in the background work really well, too, and all of it centering around the girl kind of encapsulates the fact that the main character, Morgan, is surrounded by the culture of Internment without any escape.

Or maybe I'm looking into it too much, but seriously. And the text is gorgeous, as well.


Narrative-This book is told in the first person POV from the perspective of Morgan Stockhour. Something I definitely loved was how DeStefano's writing pulled on Morgan's voice; it was seeped in a calm and wispy sort of tone that I felt matched the character's day-dreaming personality, which helped me really get an understanding of the emotions that occurred during the events of the novel.

What also struck me was the simplicity, in that none of the writing felt forced. Nothing was too flowery or poetic, or too cold and choppy; the words were going down exactly as the narrator thought of them, jumping from current events to memories, from the literal to the figurative.

However, this was also a bit of a flaw. There are a lot of jumps in the middle of the story to the past, to explain a relationship or something that happened. These are fine, but I felt like they happened at too often a rate, and occasionally in the wrong spots, slowing down scenes that could have gone a bit faster. Or the jumps back, themselves, simply lasted too long, giving us information we don't necessarily need.

Note: these "jumps" I'm talking about aren't flashbacks; instead, they're moments in the narrative where the narrator stops and talks about something that happened in the past (for example: the relationship and struggles between her brother and sister-in-law).

Plot-I feel like this plot came right out of a fairytale, and I cannot express how much I loved it. It's a city in the clouds, ruled by a king who has two children: a prince and a princess. There's giant metal-winged bird, and then the myth and magic surrounding what happens when you get too close to the edge.

Okay, maybe not magic, but parts of this thing felt so surreal that it felt magical to me.

I also really want to point out: there's no love triangle. There's not even a problem with the love and predetermined relationships. I'm trying really hard not to go to all caps, here, but this made me ecstatic! In a world where evidently there has to be a character second-guessing the guy she's with, or fighting against the partner that her government gave her, DeStefano is my hero. Morgan and her guy, Basil, are obviously meant for each other, and there's not a single moment where that's doubted.

Voila: this novel actually has a plot beyond romance, which makes Lauren DeStefano my hero.

So if the book isn't about romance, then what is it about, you might be asking? The answer is simple: murder, government conspiracies, and an insatiable need to get off Internment and find out what lies below, even if it kills them.

Pure awesomeness.

Characters-So who is the "them" that I just spoke of? Let's see:

Morgan Stockhour, who has her head in the . . . clouds? Okay, she lives in the clouds, but I'd say that her head is more focused on the mystery of the world that exists below them, the place that we (the readers) would call Earth. She's probably considered the "innocent" one of her group of friends, but her heart is so huge. She cares for everybody around her more than she probably cares about herself, and she fears about her world collapsing around her. A perfect main character, in my opinion; I loved spending so much time in her head.

Basil, Pen, Thomas. Basil is Morgan's "betrothed," which means they were born barely a week apart and were literally made for each other; they've been destined to be each others' "other half," and Basil proved time and time again that his love for Morgan is monumental. he's always by her side, and never once doubts her or try to change her dreams. Pen (nickname), Morgan's best friend, is betrothed to Thomas. Their relationship is actually sweet in her own way; Pen acts like she's pushing Thomas away, that she doesn't like him, but there's constantly little things that Morgan catches that proves that Pen has a more private love for the man she's supposed to spend the rest of her life with. There was even a point where I thought they wouldn't be together (because: plot events), and it nearly made me cry. As for the relationship between Morgan and Pen: they're totally best friends, and they're adorable together. That's really it.

Judas. He's the last one I'll go into some detail on, and only because he's the poor guy who got framed for murder. I can also only say that he's a mystery, and he has a goal. Like Morgan, he has people he cares about, and he'll do anything to free himself from the binding of Internment.

Overall: the characters were mostly so well rounded that I couldn't hate a single one of them, even if the princess is a little weird and crazy (you'll see). I say "mostly," because I felt like there could have been a little bit more concerning Morgan's parents; as I read, I began to feel like they were just cardboard cutouts of people, just sitting there in order to occupy space and give the illusion of a stable family dynamic.

Then again, that could have been the point. If so: well played, DeStefano, well played.

The only other thing I have to say about this book: I nearly cried when I realized that the second book isn't out yet. For some reason I was sure that the entire series was complete, and I spent hours scouring the internet, trying to figure out why the heck I couldn't find it.

Then I felt extremely sheepish.

Read this book, ya'll. *slams gavel*

Final Answer: 4.5 / 5


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