About the Book

Title: Avenged (Ruined #2)
Published: 2017
Series: Ruined
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: Bland But Inoffensive
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Oddly Modern
Bonus Factor: Sisters
Factor: Bridge Book
Relationship Status: Arranged Marriage

SPOILER WARNING: This is the second book in the trilogy, so if you haven’t read Ruined and you want to, then tread lightly here.

Cover Story: Bland But Inoffensive

I’m quoting myself from my first review. This cover continues the no-frills theme of the first book, and I don’t mind it, but it’s nothing to write home about. Because yes, sometimes I do write my parents about some of these covers. What, you don’t believe me??

The Deal

After barely escaping Lera with her life, Emelina Flores finally returns with the rest of the Ruined to their home—dry and brown and dead as ever, but now with 100% fewer castles. Em and her younger sister Olivia form a diarchy to try to rebuild their kingdom, Olivia secure in her extremely strong Ruined powers, and Em trusting her pact with Cas to end the feud between the Leran and the Ruined. They also still have their alliance with the Olso warriors. So things are looking up! Except that suddenly Cas is removed from the throne, the Olso prince threatens Em with marriage or slavery, and on top of it all, Olivia begins acting like an actual psychopath. Em starts to miss being holed up in her enemy’s castle pretending to be allies with the royals who killed her family! Ah … those were the days. It’s a new era, and Em must quickly learn that right and wrong transcend the boundaries of nation and family.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

I knew you could do it, Em! I was sweatin’ this choice in my review of Ruined, but I had a feeling she would turn it around. She was always smart, brave and selfless, but in this book she’s less “ruthless killer with a heart of stone.” She grew up. It’s her sister that’s the ruthless killer (and GOOD GOD is she terrifying). But Em is honestly pretty great. She feels duty-bound to keep her people safe and healthy and happy, and every action she takes reflects that sense of responsibility. Even when she wants something for herself (*cough*Cas*cough*), she puts the Ruined first.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Oh Cas and Em, will your stars EVER align? My heart was very much on this rollercoaster with them, and it was only slightly infuriating. It wasn’t a will-they, won’t-they situation; it was more complicated than that. It was awesome to see them acting one minute like lovestruck teenagers and the next like mature adults, making tough decisions and spurring one another on to act like kings and queens. I also really appreciated the fact that their other marriage prospects didn’t become corners of some love trapezoid. I just don’t have time for that kind of geometry.

There was also a new relationship featured in Book 2 that at first I thought was distracting and forced, but by the end of the story I was completely hooked! Nice work, Tintera.

Talky Talk: Oddly Modern

Tintera’s fantasy world is only just inventing steam engines and “hand cannons.” There’s no plumbing and I’m pretty sure they light their hallways with candles. But there’s something about the writing that makes it seem modern. It’s nothing blatant; it’s more like a lack of other-worldly language. It’s as if the dialogue could be transposed onto a contemporary YA novel and it wouldn’t be out of place at all. It’s the feeling you’d get if one of the characters from Game of Thrones uttered a phrase like, “I know, right?”

Bonus Factor: Sisters

Mary Anne and Dawn, dressed up and standing together (The Baby-Sitters Club)

Let’s get one thing straight: Olivia Flores scares the bejesus out of me. But if I pretend like I’m okay with her, or that she’s going to become totally reasonable and benevolent someday, then I can start to appreciate the sisterly bond that she and Em have, and it warms the cockles of my heart. … But then she glances at someone and takes their head off, and my heart is an ice box again. Still, the familial force is strong with these ones. In Ruined, Em went to extreme lengths to save her sister, and now we see Liv defend Em with the same fierce loyalty. It’s precious. Even if I do want Em to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP OLIVIA!

Factor: Bridge Book

A stone bridge over a still pond in a forest

This isn’t such a bummer, actually, because a lot happened that I cared about so it didn’t feel like I was wasting my time. And it made me want to keep reading. On the other hand, I CAN’T keep reading because it’s not 2018 yet!

Relationship Status: Arranged Marriage

Book, we don’t have what the kids call “passion,” I know. But as arranged marriages go, ours is pretty great! The more I get to know you, the more I like you and respect you. Looking forward to Book 3!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen, but got neither money nor an offer of marriage in exchange for this review. Avenged is available now.

About the Contributor:

It’s taken a decade, but Lacey Nadeau has finally decided she misses the beaches of Southern California where she grew up. (It took only about a minute for her to miss the Mexican food.) However, she’s pretty committed to the fun and sun of Denver, CO, where she plays with spreadsheets by day, and drinks boozy slushies with her husband and puppy by night. The puppy just pretends.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.