By Lauren DeStefano
Released: October 1st, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that Lauren DeStafano tends to be the type of writer that you either love or hate. From Goodreads, it seems like all the readers are pretty evenly split down the middle of their opinions of her Chemical Garden series, as well as her latest book Perfect Ruin. While the Chemical Garden trilogy did have its flaws, the plot was driven enough to keep me interested throughout the series. It had its problems (such as having a United States each coast after the polar ice caps melted), but there was something strangely fascinating about it.
And I’ll be damned if she didn’t do it again!
Perfect Ruin is a story told from the point of view of Morgan Stockhour, who lives on Internment, which is an island floating in the middle of the sky. Yup, a floating island. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, I don’t know what is. Everything on Internment is perfect. Crime is low, people are flourishing and no one is ever left alone – everyone is betrothed at birth. Morgan, her betrothed Basil, and her best friend, Pen all love their home. But Morgan dreams of something terrifying and deadly – of seeing what’s beyond the “edge” of their island.
When the body of a young girl is found on the tram tracks murdered – a girl who spoke out about what could lie beyond the comfort of their island no less – the entire land goes into lockdown. After all, it’s the first murder to occur in decades. People are paranoid and police escort children to and from school. Morgan begins to question the safety of her home. Her brother, Lex – is a jumper. He attempted to jump beyond the edge and he was one of the lucky few who lived to tell the tale, though he lost his eyesight. Lex continues to question the integrity of the monarchy. Was the murdered girl part of a resistance, one that believed something better lay beyond their island, on the land down below?
When the accused perpetrator of the murder escapes capture, and shows up in the forest beside her apartment, it’s up to Morgan to unravel the murder mystery and see what exactly Interment might be hiding.
I’ve been a fan of DeStafano’s prose since I read her first book, Wither. Her words are so fluid and poetic and Perfect Ruin is no different. From page one, I could tell that I was reading a DeStefano book and I was able to heave a contented sigh. I had realized until I read this installment that I had missed her writing.
Besides the fascinating setting of the book, I was very intrigued by the “utopian” society Internment had to offer. From the details in the story, it seems that there are a strict set of laws. You are born with a betrothed, you have to apply to have children (due to population regulations), you can be considered “irrational” for having different thoughts from those of the monarchy, ect. I really would like to see the government aspect elaborated some in the following installments, particularly since we are supposed to be seeing the monarchy as the “bad people.” I’d love to see why “the baddies” are bad and their reasoning behind it.
The characters are pretty interesting, too. Morgan is your average girl, save for the thoughts of what lies “beyond” her island. Seeing her struggle with this problem, particularly since her brother went through similar problems, really brings her to life. She worries about being declared irrational. She worries about what would happen to her parents should she jump over the edge. But her curiosity about the murdered girl and the secrets that her home could be hiding is what really sets her apart from other characters.
The supporting cast is nice, too. Lex is funny; often meant to be seen as surly and world-weary, though he’s only in his mid twenties. Her friend, Pen, is steadfast in her belief of Internment and the “Gods Above.” And her betrothed Basil is definitely swoon-worthy. The fact that he remains by Morgan’s side, despite everything she drags him into, proves that he’s loyal beyond compare. I’d love to see more of his point of view in future books. While he was a loveable character, he seemed a bit flat. DeStafano could really add some character and round him out by giving us a glimpse into his mind.
This is a great YA read. If you’re looking for mystery and a touch of romance, this is definitely for you!