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Life On High

Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin introduces a world with its head (literally) in the clouds.

Life On High

BOOK REPORT for Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Cover Story: Pretty, Pretty
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Hints of Grimm
Bonus Factors: Rebels
Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger
Relationship Status: Fly With Me

Cover Story: Pretty, Pretty

I love this cover. The typeface, the girl in the lovely red dress, the stars, the sketches of the branches, ornaments and gears. They all work together wonderfully to create a cover that totally draws me in.

The Deal:

The city of Internment is a lovely place. The King rules justly, there’s very little crime, and no one goes wanting for food, shelter, education, jobs or medical treatment. The citizens are happy and fulfilled. It’s a fairytale life.

Or so one looking in from the outside might think.

In reality, Internment is a tightly controlled city with little wiggle room for the ideas of individuals who don’t fall in line with the prescribed way of thinking. If you do, you’re given medicine that will help bring you back into line. Oh, and did I mention that the city of Internment is located on a bit of land that floats in the upper atmosphere of a planet and is surrounded by a field of wind so forceful it causes serious physical harm to anyone who might be tempted to peer over the edge?

Morgan’s brother, Lex, is one such individual. But Morgan has always been (mostly) content to follow the path laid out for her by the Internment’s rulers. It’s not until a girl is found brutally murdered—the first murder in a generation—that Morgan begins to give in to nagging questions about her life, the history of her beloved city, and what the future holds.

BFF Charm: Eventually

I really like that Morgan is such a dreamer, but her innocence grated on my nerves. I can’t really blame the girl—she did grow up in an extraordinarily sheltered and idyllic society—but I would have liked to have rolled my eyes at her naivety a little less. I have a feeling that, in subsequent books, she’ll be forced to do a whole lot of maturing … but I can see her handling it all with grace. I’ll just have to wait and see if our friendship grows along with her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Life on Internment comes a with a pre-determined betrothal to a person of the opposite gender. (If there’s ever any inkling that someone might have other feelings, that someone would likely be deemed “irrational” and given medicine/forced into surgery to “fix” the issue.) Once both parties reach age 19, they get married, and they then live together until the ripe old age of seventy-five, at which point all citizens of Internment are “dispatched” to make room for new members of the population.

One might think that the chances for actual love on Internment are slim, but Morgan is one of the lucky ones. Her betrothed, Basil, is handsome and intelligent, and truly loves her for who she is, blasphemous thoughts and all. They don’t share many typically romantic moments during the book, but Basil’s very much a Prince Charming-like character, which certainly adds to the swoon.

Talky Talk: Hints of Grimm

Although Perfect Ruin is, by genre, a dystopian novel, it reads like a fairy tale. Lauren DeStefano has created a world that, on the the outside, seems like everyone’s happily ever after. Her writing weaves a tale of a world that strives to be perfect, but can no longer hide its seedy underbelly. DeStefano has also crafted characters who belong in this world—their language, their thoughts and their actions all fit within the (literal) confines of the city in the sky.

Bonus Factor: Rebels

I don’t want to get too spoilery, but not everyone in Internment toes the company line. It’s delightful.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger

The cliffhanger at the end of Perfect Ruin is so large, I nearly fell off my couch when I reached the last page. Thankfully, the book doesn’t suffer for it, nor am I too frustrated that I have to wait until the sequel comes out to get any sort of resolution; I am actually more intrigued. Still, cliffhangers are kind of the pits.

Casting Call:

Adelaide Kane as Morgan

Armie Hammer as Basil

Juno Temple as Pen

Although I didn’t mention Pen above, I had to cast her. (Pen is Morgan’s bestie.) After multiple mentions of her perfect blonde ringlets, I couldn’t get an image of Juno in Year One out of my head.

Relationship Status: Fly With Me

At first, Book, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy your fanciful, uncomplicated world. Where’s the action, I found myself wondering; where’s the intrigue behind Internment’s luster? But then you delivered, and piece by piece the luster began to chip away. Whole chunks fell off before the end of your story, and I found myself getting wrapped up in your tale. And even though you left me in quite a tight spot, I definitely want to continue our relationship to see how everything works out.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Simon & Schuster. I received neither Halloween candy—full-size bars, natch, not those nasty black and orange-wrapped taffy things—nor money for this review. Perfect Ruin is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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