Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
I love this book cover. DeStefano always gets such pretty covers. I literally cannot stop staring at it. I had to show the cover to multiple coworkers. The design of the mechanical tree continues onto the back. And then when you remove the cover completely, the spine of the book has the same design (but in red). Also the inside lining is of stars in the night sky, and I know I’m gushing about the cover and not talking about the book yet, but seriously, it’s a work of art.
I know the novel, itself has been getting some mixed reviews. But, I absolutely loved it. The world-building was unbelievable. And I loved the main character and her best friend. Morgan was just so innocent and yet also so willing to learn and see things from a different angle. Nobody told her to believe a convicted murderer over her king. And no one explained to her that she needed to lie to the specialist who spoke to her at school. But, she did. And she tries so hard, outwardly, to fit in and accept a world where she can never go on an adventure or explore. And inwardly, she knows she doesn’t belong.
I think what most people had problems with, according to the reviews I’ve read, were the lack of answers. Why is there a floating island? Why is it impossible to jump off, really? Why does the king forbid everyone from even attempting to think about leaving? Is the world below, our world? What century?
I kind of loved the mystery. I found it almost refreshing to read a dystopia where the whole concept of the world isn’t jammed down my throat. I liked only knowing what Morgan knew. The murders, the royal family, and the late night escapes kept the story moving. And I guess it almost read like a fantasy novel. I don’t go into a YA fantasy, questioning why the world is the way it is; I just kind of accept it is not my world.
I like DeStefano’s smooth writing style. Even the simplest descriptions of her world can be taken apart and dissected. A lot of it was even philosophical. I liked all the notions Morgan had about how maybe the world below had its own world that it always looked down on too. I was fascinated by the floating world’s holidays and green way of living. Certainly there were dystopian elements (about betrothed, babies born, and other kinds of frightening society rules). But, the book didn’t seem to be about that as much as other things.
I found Basil (the love interest) to be a little boring. And I found the best friend’s love interest to be a little sketchy. I seriously suspect him of something bad, but I don’t know if I’m right. I’m kind of hoping for an eluded to love triangle to bring something interesting to the romance.
This book had a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, suspense, flying machines, royalty, murder, poison, fires, and propaganda. But what really made it all so special for me was the world, the detailed descriptions of the sky to people who don’t know much else, and the philosophical questions brought forth really had me thinking. I’ve never read anything like this. Some of the writing was downright poetic. I also love the characters (minus a couple of the boys). And there was one insane cliffhanger at the end. I thought DeStefano was going to end it somewhere worse, so in a way, I kind of loved this cliffhanger. I give it a 10/10.

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