Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Report Monday: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Synopsis: On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 15-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.
(from Goodreads)

Why did I pick it up?: I enjoyed Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden Trilogy. And her cats are pretty adorbs.

Favorite Lines: "For a moment I envy his blindness. I want to curl up in that darkness and have the city disappear around me. I want to be in a place where awful things are never seen and never known, and there's only the whir of the transcriber as the paper fills with fiction."

"He says there's nothing wrong with me, but it's entirely possible he hasn't been paying enough attention."

"I want the world that was promised to us when we were small. Uncomplicated and nonviolent."

My Review: Perfect Ruin is even better than The Chemical Garden trilogy and I really liked that series. I fell in love with DeStefano's short but profound and often lyrical sentences. Many of her passages remind me of Alice Hoffman, but that may be because of the way they make me feel, almost weightless like I'm not even aware that I'm on the couch or the train while reading them. Perfect Ruin retains that quality, but both the story and characters are noticeably more complex. It's not that I found Wither to be full of simple characters or to have a weak story. It's kind of like, when you didn't realize you were hungry until you took your first bite. I thought her other books had given me plenty, but then she gave me more. (I hope you know what I mean, otherwise someone is bound to have me classified as irrational.) Most writers continue to improve as they hone their skills more with each project. And Lauren DeStefano has obviously been honing.

Morgan Stockhour is loyal and trustworthy, the kind of character you can support right away. Still, at times she's awkwardly fifteen, she's independent despite being betrothed since birth, she's generally happy despite being shunned by most of her classmates because of her brother's actions years before.

One thing I really liked about her was her awareness. Morgan's convinced there's something wrong with her but also she seems to know there's something wrong with Internment. I read a lot of YA and a decent amount of that is Dystopian and it's a common theme for the main character to be totally shocked that the ruling body might be wrong. Morgan isn't an angst-filled rebel on page one and she is shocked by the murder, but she's smart and observant. She knows everything isn't as perfect as it seems and that there are things you don't say, because the people in charge would punish you for saying them and she seems to know to be wary of them.

Another refreshing change is the lack of romance as a theme. There is some, as I said, Morgan is betrothed. Her relationship with Basil is well developed and really sweet. They're best friends who grew up knowing they'd be married one day. And while they have some adorable moments, this story isn't a love story. I don't have anything against YA Romance but it's nice to read YA with less of a romantic focus.

As someone who strives to be earth conscious, I had a lot of questions about life on a floating city. With limited resources, no substantial bodies of water, and I imagine some kind of weight restriction to prevent the whole city from just sinking to the ground, they obviously can't have waste piling up. I was happy to learn about those pieces of life on Internment throughout the story. That might just be because I'm green and nerdy about it, but I was happy to have my questions all answered.

Recommendation: If you liked her last series, I'm sure you'll love Perfect Ruin. Also anyone who liked the Matched series by Ally Condie, is waiting impatiently for Catching Fire to hit theaters or who appreciates beautifully crafted sentences.

For Next Week: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


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