Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release: October 1st 2013
Genre: Utopia, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, YA
#1 in the Internment Chronicles trilogy
Sequels: Burning Kingdoms (#2), Broken Crowns (#3)
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.
This book is seriously powerful. Very, very powerful.
What I like about Lauren DeStefano's books is that they always have a very deep hidden meaning behind them. Her books concentrate around philosophical themes and I like how she approaches all of those topics.
Perfect Ruin is about freedom, about what paradise would feel like after you've lived your whole life there. How the grass is always greener on the other side. It tells a story about loss, and trying to make your dreams come true no matter how impossible it might seem. This was actually truly inspiring and I have found so many beautiful quotes in this book, I'll share some with you:
Do dreams have to be confined to the same place as the dreamer?
There's no time for resting, and no room for dreams. It's time to wake up.
If there's a god at all, he's dead in his sky.
Is this what love means? That the rules aren't the reason you stay together?
This is just a few of them. And there were tons of such gems, I'm truly awed.
So, the world building really tackles some meaningful topics and handles them very maturely and nicely, I've loved getting behind the workings of the whole society and basically discovering that not everything is as black and white as it may seem. The world can't be 100% divided into "good" and "evil", and I think that is something very important you have to realize as soon as possible, and I think the book portrays this accurately.
And characters were just awesome. I don't know what it was, but I could relate to Morgan so much. I feel like this girl is some part of myself come alive, because sometimes she took the words straight out of my mouth. I could understand all of her motives, her feelings and the why behind all of it. I loved how clearheaded she was, while also being impulsive sometimes, which made her so much more human. She questions herself multiple times, but not in a pathetic monologue way, but in a very philosophical fashion that just tore at my heartstrings: “I'm horrible and selfish — I must be — because all my thoughts lead to the idea that she could have been me instead.” Maybe it's because I can relate to selfishness very much, because it's something I am constantly asking myself as well: Am I a bad person, because I am selfish? Morgan was a very meaningful and strong heroine, I simply adored her.
The other characters had their depths as well, and I'm really amazed at how well DeStefano set all of these apart and yet manages to make them match perfectly. Morgan and her best friend Pen are basically polar opposites, yet their strong bond is tangible and I can see why their friendship has lasted this long. They complement each other and are each others' anchors, which has been proven during the events of the book multiple times. But even outside of their friendship, Pen carves her own path and isn't afraid to stand up to Morgan about her own opinion: “She talks of staying in the sky. Yet sometimes she is her own floating city, drifting farther away from me”. Pen kind of seemed like a paradox, being both a daydreamer of her own sort and at the same time an avid believer of the Internment and what it stands for. I liked the conflict within her, it made her an extremely interesting character.
Let's not forget about our boys here, shall we? Basil was, as all the others, great, too and I especially loved how loyal he was. He was always trying his best to be there for Morgan and to support her unconditionally, without asking for anything in return. And I loved how their relationship grew beyond their betrothal, and they actually ask themselves the very same question — what would keep them together, if not the rules? Well, as Perfect Ruin shows on multiple occasions, it's the silent understanding that passes between the two of them. Both Morgan and Basil give and take in this relationship, and while Basil comforts Morgan and puts her at ease, she is also his anchor to give him the courage to actually say these bold words and be strong for her. I liked how these two were like a circle basically, it was simply so harmonic.
To make my point clear, have a really wonderfully written scene with them:
“But we aren't ghosts,” he says.“No,“ I say. “Not for a long time.”“Sixty years,” he says.“A thousand,” I counter, and tug him by the collar until he's kissing me, and anything we believe is true, and everything in the world is ours.
And oh yes, Judas. Sadly, he didn't get nearly as much screen time as I would have expected, and while I was waiting for a love triangle to spring upon me at any time, there was none? I was so pleasantly surprised, though, let me tell you. Maybe there is going to be one in Burning Kingdoms, although I doubt it. If so, you're dropped like a hot potato, bookie, kay? Anyways, despite his rare appearances, he exuded this air of mystery that made him really intriguing and I am so looking forward to seeing more of him in the sequel. There's still very little known about him, but he seems like a very good character, as well. Ugh just like everyone really! Not that every character was particularly likable, but they all stood out somehow. They made a lasting impression.
Plot was fantastic, do I have to talk about that? Yeah, I do, I guess. There were a lot of twists and turns I didn't see coming, especially with the whole government thing that's revealed later on. I certainly did not expect that... And the whole idea with the city in the sky in general was simply amazing, while also kinda reminding me of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which just added another layer of awesome, really. Oh, and not only was it a wonderful idea, but DeStefano also executed it skillfully. I have no complaints!
In conclusion, I definitely recommend this book. It was simply so nice and refreshing, I loved it. Can't wait for the next book!