I’ve been waiting for this one ever since the author announced a new series. After reading the Chemical Garden trilogy, I am sure as shooting that another Lauren DeStefano novel would turn out no less amazing. And what do you know – after weeks of searching for a copy and reading it overnight – I am definitely not disappointed (well, mostly). Spoiler warning, dear readers!
The premise captured my interest from the start – a floating city in the sky, Internment. This is the utopia we encounter in this world – an island found amongst the clouds, bordered by train tracks and completely surrounded by a protective sphere. The geographical limits are reason to set up population control that comes in the form of ‘dispatching’ (a person has to be ‘dispatched’ once he/she reaches the age of 75, when he/she can no longer functionally contribute to society) and ‘the birth queue’ (married couples sign up for the privilege to get permission to have children). Also, somewhat similar to the Matching of the Matched series, the so-called decision makers of the city decide upon a person’s betrothed (your The One), the only one you’re to marry, to love and spend the rest of your life with, even before your birth. :\ Talk about taking arranged marriage to a whole new extreme. The world building is just fantastic.
Let’s move on to the characters. Well, I guess they’re okay. Morgan’s okay – I like her enough, but I didn’t really love her. She’s just so indecisive (To kill the king or not to kill the king? And have you decided whether you love your betrothed already or not? Poor guy…) Speaking of Morgan’s betrothed, Basil – while possessing nearly all the qualities I’d like in my The One – just seemed all too superficial to me. Oh come on, a guy like that’s bound to have some demons somewhere. He can’t be all about Morgan! Aside from being defined as a pretty nice older brother and practically the perfect betrothed, I got absolutely no substantial characterization of Basil. Which is to say, Morgan has absolutely no substantial characterization of him, since I was technically reading from her point of view. Or maybe I’m just speaking too soon. It is a trilogy, after all. I appreciated the supporting characters more than our heroine and her love interest, I’m afraid. There’s Pen, the free spirit, the faithful, the ever pakipot/hard-to-get, easily my favorite character in the novel. GO PEN! Big brother/sister characters always get hugs from me, especially when they come as perpetually troubled but nonetheless caring like Lex and perfectly angelic like Alice. I’m looking forward to getting to know Judas more (though I have my theories about where that’s going to go. You know, in terms of Morgan and all…).
The storytelling is nice and fluid and I fell right into the heart of the story and the building of the conflict. One murder leads to another and soon, the seemingly perfect world Morgan, Basil and their friends live in does not seem so perfect anymore. Secrets are revealed and just when Morgan thinks she’s truly becoming insane, yearning for the forbidden edge and the uncharted territories of the world below, she finds herself with no choice but to truly challenge everything she once believed in – her life and the city she used to call home. There are some parts of the plot that confused me – particularly in the last part, the events seemed to come from nowhere (chosen by random?) just so some characters can be brought into the scene again (and therefore, into the sequel). Are the King’s children really that stupid? Why on earth would they do that? -__- But like I already mentioned, this is a trilogy. I’m guessing Lauren has some tricks up her sleeve. :)
Overall, Perfect Ruin is amazing. The premise is great. The world-building is beyond compare. It ends with the perfect cliff-hanger and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. You’d do well picking this one up. I know that after reading, I catch myself looking up at the sky sometimes and wondering whether there really is some island floating up there… You never really know.