Format: Audio-book – Library
Buy it Here: Ruined
Several messy royal families deal with intrigue, murder, accidental love, and mysterious powers. That’s this book in a sentence if I had to do it for something fancy. If one of my book club friends asked me, I’d say “This book is that trope where someone has to impersonate someone else and lie, but they and their mark fall in love. Also they have to save the world.”
Honestly, it’s one of my least favorite tropes. The lying gets under my skin. Just talk to each other! What’s wrong with you?! Ew. Also, Em, our protagonist, was a terrible liar. Just pathetic at it. You know what she wasn’t pathetic at? Swordfighting! That’s right, it’s another trope! Of course she’s a badass! She’s just incredibly bad at spycraft. Hilariously so. Casimir may be good with a sword but lordy– let’s just say the kid’s not a Ravenclaw, yeah?
I liked this book, I did. I might need to read the next one because I want to know what happens. That said, I couldn’t stop seeing cliches and tropes all over this book. Casimir is a cardboard idiot, Olivia turns out to be an enfant terrible, we have an evil queen– just. Ugh. The characters in this book were not impressive.
The stakes are massively high, but somehow this story revolves around a romance which revolves around a lie. This is what I would call a “Love because Love,” syndrome. Why do they love one another?! They just do. They can’t explain it. It’s not based on something paltry like shared experiences, or mutual admiration. This is lurve, guys. Legit, his dad straight up killed her parents and she lied to him through the whole book. But it’s cool.
Is there such a thing as “clicking,” with someone and having a strong immediate affinity? Yeah, absolutely, but it’s hard for us to see through words. On a show or in a movie, you can see sparks– in a book you can’t so much. I just had a hard time buying it. And I am THE EASIEST person to sell a romance to. I am shopping for romance. I’m in the market, team. I ship pairs that don’t canonically exist! For me to not care if Em and Cas kiss or not is sort of heartbreaking.
The pacing of this book was pretty solid, and I am interested enough to want to read the next book– now that everyone’s stopped lying all the time. It’s not a total failure, but it’s really not a fancy piece of literature either.
This is definitely a book I subjectively enjoyed while knowing it was just not that great.
Subjective Hearts: 4/5
Objective Hearts: 3/5
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