Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
My Thoughts . . .
Perfect Ruin is a book that will leave you wanting more. The world DeStefano created is whimsical, creative, and most important of all, original. To understand the reason behind the formation of Internment,
“The first humans were especially ungrateful. After the birth of the sun and the moon, they asked for stars. After the crops rose from the ground, they asked for beasts to fill the fields. After some time, the god of the ground, weary of their demands, thought it best to destroy them and begin again with humbler beings. So it goes that the god of the sky thought the first humans too clever to waste, and he agreed to keep them in the sky with the promise that they would never again interfere with the ground.
—The History of Internment, Chapter 1”
I found Interment’s background intriguing, which pulled me into this book. If you are hesitant about the concept of a “sky god,” there is no need to fear because this book does not revolve around it. The concept of the sky god is for the inhabitants of Internment to have faith in someone or rather, something. They need to know that they were placed on Internment for a reason and that their life has a purpose.
But Morgan, does not buy it. She believes in the sky god in the beginning but once disturbing events unfold, such as a murder, she begins to question her faith. She wonders about the ground, and what life must be like there. Having a Jumper in the family (her brother, Lex) persuades her to reconsider being one herself. But the allure of the edge continues to draw her attention, and she fantasizes more about the edge than she should.
The structure of Interment is intriguing, to say the least. Individuals are betrothed to one another at a young age; expected to wear a clear ring that on their wedding day, will be filled with the other’s blood. When the couple wants to have a child, they sign up to be in the queue, where they must wait to bear a child. This ensures balance between the birth and death rate. There is a king in charge on Internment, with a police force to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Then there are the Jumpers, those who are declared irrational because of their actions. Jumpers are those allured by Interment’s edge and who are so desperate to see the ground . . . they jump. Because Internment has a dome of wind surrounding it (to prevent clouds from colliding with them), Jumpers are pushed back onto Internment by the wind’s sheer force. All Jumpers always suffer a consequence and Lex’s was blindness.
I adored the following characters in Perfect Ruin: Morgan, the main character who as time goes on begins to realize that Interment is not as safe as she was taught to believe; Basil, her betrothed, who is a charming gentleman, always on Morgan’s side and willing to do anything with her; Pen, Morgan’s best friend since youth, who faithfully remains her friend, even after the incident with Lex; and Alice, Lex’s betrothed, who is always loyal to him and does everything for him because of their undying love for one another.
From the characters to the setting, Perfect Ruin is a must read for all lovers of unique, dystopian books.
Favorite Quotes . . .
“Every star has been set in the sky. We mistakenly think they were put there for us.”
“He gathers me up and I’m weightless before he sets me on the railing. He’s the only thing keeping me from falling back, out of the reach of daylight. I’m not afraid of falling. I don’t fear the sky beyond the train tracks like I did before. I can go anywhere just so long as it’s with him.”
“We accept gods that don’t speak to us. We accept gods that would place us in a world filled with injustices and do nothing as we struggle. It’s easier than accepting that there’s nothing out there at all, and that, in our darkest moments, we are truly alone.”
“So many of the things I’ve wanted are the things I’ve been taught to fear.”
Overall . . .
I loved Perfect Ruin because it differs from all the other dystopian novels I have read. It is about a young girl, whose thoughts and ideas are too large to be contained on the limited space of Internment and aspires to visit the ground and discover what’s outside the floating island she lives on. The world of Interment is very unique, which was not only admiring, but a pulling force that sucked me into this book. DeStefano’s writing was descriptive and awe-inspiring, enabling me to visualize the events on Interment and wonder about them. I was able to connect the events on Interment with the real world, which I loved because it made this fantasy world more realistic. And the ending . . . it will render you speechless.
If you are a fan of original, dystopian books, you need to read Perfect Ruin immediately. You will not regret it; instead, you will wish its sequel would be published sooner.