Friday, 15 November 2013

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 1st October 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: 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.

Imagine a floating city in the sky. Internment appears to be a perfect city, high above the earth. However in this seemingly ideal society there is a darkness lurking just beneath the surface. You only need to look hard enough. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano is a beautiful story set in an unforgettable setting with elegant writing and prose.  It’s a story that slowly pulls you into its web chapter by chapter as the secrets of Internment are unraveled and beliefs are challenged.  Perfect Ruin isn’t a standout book, nor is it one that is going hit you in the face with its unimaginable plot twists and fast pace. It’s an understated subtle book filled with so much symbolism and vision. The story moves at a slow pace that works so well for this book. It allows the reader to fully explore all the facets of Internment and its characters.

The overall story arc is reminiscent of many dystopian based YA novels. There is a utopian society that is not actually a utopia. The world is not as shiny and bright as the characters believe it to be, so in order for a better life a rebellion is staged and government secrets are exposed. Even if the story harkens back to previous novels, the way that this society is built, its characters and writing make this novel a lovely book to read. Morgan has lived a sheltered life.  After a murder occurs on Internment, Morgan’s life begins to unravel. It’s the first murder in a generation and it forces Morgan to discover certain secrets about the floating city and her own family.

There is so much richness in Perfect Ruin. Right from the start you can see how much detail has gone into building Internment. The people of the city have their own specific beliefs complete with traditions and rituals that are so similar to ones we know but different in their own right. They also have their own religion. DeStefano slowly pulls back the veil on this perfect society to expose the evil lurking in plain sight. The more secrets Morgan learns the more they challenge the truths she has always believed in. Since her brother Lex jumped, Morgan has seen the small injustices in her society but the murder pushes her to see the entire city in another perspective. Her dreamer personality and need for more than what the city can offer, place her in an ideal position to accept the secrets of Internment. Her reaction is very different from her best friend Pen. Pen like most of Internments citizens clings to the perceived safety the rules of the city offer and is reluctant to acknowledge the truth.  Basil’s acceptance of the truth stems from his love for Morgan and willingness to keep her safe. DeStefano wonderfully showcases the differing opinions of these characters.  

Perfect Ruin is a subtle book and carries a lot of symbolism. The book gives the phase “on the wrong side of the tracks” a whole new meaning. The poetic beautiful epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter provide insight into the rebellion and the darkness hidden in the city. It’s interesting to see how the Epigraphs start off as a contrast to the characters feelings but by end of the book their sayings align with the characters thoughts. Perfect Ruin makes you think about belief systems. It challenges the entire belief system that a society has been taught. The book also focuses on different types of love. The love between two bothered, the love between families and the love between siblings.  Lex and Morgan have a very close sibling relationship. I loved their relationship. Love is a driver for many of the actions in this book.  

Morgan was a daydreamer. She was very understated in this book. She prefers to be the person to keep the peace. She has a lot of internal strength, given all the personal hardship she has had to face. All the characters in this story was beautify flawed. Lex was a great character that faced many demons. I loved how much he cared for his sister and Alice. Amy was a wiser than she looks. Judas was a very interesting character; I wish we had gotten to know him better. He was a catalyst for Morgan and her subsequent actions.  Basil and Morgan’s relationship was very sweet. I do wish that there was more to Basil though, he was a little uninteresting.

The ending had so much possibility and suggests a new direction for the book. I cannot wait for the sequel. Perfect Ruin is a gorgeous story about a city in the sky. You must read about this floating city.

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