I read Perfect Ruin, and now I’m in love with Lauren Destefano and her writing. I love the complexity in this book, and the characters were also amazing. This is my review of the second book if you’re curious!
This book was a really different almost dystopia almost fantasy that had perfect prose, really excellent characters and worldbuilding, plot and setting in balanced amounts that made it delightful to read.
The prose in this book was excellent. I was too lazy to pick out quotes, but I love DeStefano’s writing. She writes with clear and precise prose, describing emotions linked with settings, beautiful characters. I just love how she wrote relationships- Basil and Morgan fit really well together. This isn’t a dreamy novel though. The writing can be tense and fraught with danger, all the emotions coming just right (write) at times too.
Morgan, Pen, Judas, Amy, Lex, and Alice are spectacularly written, too. I have already started on book two and I have a feeling that it’ll be the same way for Celeste. Dialogue between characters is realistic and attention grabbing, and their motivations are clear, but I love how they all came together in various ways at the end. The collaborations and histories of the characters make sense and fit in really well with the tone of the novel. I guess my complaint would be that despite DeStefano’s excellent emotion writing, not enough attention was given to Lex and Morgan’s relationship, or with her parents and I didn’t really pick up on the nuances- Morgan had to tell me. I really liked Morgans journey as she gradually realised how trapped she is and battles with religious dilemmas and issues.
This book begins with a murder, and it stays exciting. It does. Morgan and co. are trying to work out what is going on. Judas was a really nice element and his ambiguity adds complexity to the tone of the book. The idea of escaping but not being left behind was also dealt with really well, and the friendships/betrothals added and interesting dynamic.
The worldbuilding is fascinating. Religion was incorporated really well into the rest of the book, and I found the characters reactions to it and the concept of a priest-king intriguing. The floating rock suggests magic, but there is lots of science in her too. One thing I really enjoyed was how arranged marriages worked out pretty well, because I think YA tends to shy away from the complexity of such arrangements, and Basil and Morgan had fabulous chemistry. The political structure, school (another thing skimmed over in spec fic) and the trains ran really well in the background. I also found that the medications and myths really me to comprehend the workings of the world around Morgan and her friends, and I think the worldbuilding was pretty realistic and nicely fit in with the plot. The quotes from the essay also were really beautiful and interesting.
Though there were a few things I found confusing or irritating, this book as a whole was fabulous. Well written characters and relationships, a cliffhanger ending and a whole new world to explore make me beyond excited for Burning Kingdoms.
Do you like awesome characters and intriguing concepts? Have you read this book or another book by this author? What is your opinion on arranged marriages? Tell me in the comments!