Review: Avenged by Amy Tintera

Friday, July 7, 2017
Title: Avenged
Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: fantasy
Series: Ruined #2
Pages: 416
Published: May 2 2017
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 1/5

In the sequel to Ruined, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

This one's on me. I mean.. Ruined, the first book out last year, wasn't exactly great. I knew it then and I know it now. It was.. kind of a mess. And the comparison titles for this middle book in the trilogy are... not exactly appealing, nor would they draw me to this title had I not read the first. (I digress. But don't read The Selection, people.) Still: I liked the bare bones of this fantasy world (even if I completely side-eye the idea of a group of people naming themselves "Ruined" because their enemies do...), I love a good villain, I enjoy antiheroes who make cutthroat choices, and I'm curious about the magic systems... so I settled in to give Avenged a chance to make the best of what its predecessor had to offer. Unfortunately, the author squanders the various opportunities, and all those disparate parts come together no better the second time around.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that Avenged ruins a few of the good impressions left behind by the first book. The plot is so slight as to be nonexistent and there is no advancement of an overall plot for the series; we end the book in largely the same situation as it began -- four hundred pages before. To say Avenged suffers from second-book-syndrome is a vast understatement. It's generic and broadly-painted. While I appreciate the fact that homosexuality is normal in the societies of Ruina/Lera, I hate that the one gay ship of the series is tiny, barely mentioned, and foisted on two very minor side characters. I mentioned that I love a good villain, but what Avenged doesn't realize is that it requires more than just blood-thirst and cruelty to craft one. Nuance is needed and without it, Olivia is a caricature not a character. 

I noted last year that Ruined's approach to worldbuilding left something to be desired. It was shallow and in dire need of expansion to feel real and viable version of humanity and civilization; the culture and countries both have a very superficial atmosphere. This country hates that country because... reasons? I've read two books and have yet to find a solid reason for why this world operates the way it does. There's no depth to the world of Ruina, Lera, Vallos -- they are just made up words on a page. The writing itself is so ambiguous when it comes to geography and location it's exceedingly hard to picture even a map of how the various countries coexist.

Multiple characters lead the narrative but they largely feel unnecessary and repetitive, especially with so little of interest happening between the various POVs. The humor from book one is largely missing. Cas, never terribly dynamic, is even more of a wetblanket the second time around. Em proves to the exception to the rule and the highlight of the novel, just as she was for her first outing in Ruined. Her love for Cas makes him somewhat more engaging despite the tumultuous nature and ever-changing status of their relationship. But it is the slowly growing attraction between Aren and the warrior Iria that makes for any kind of ship or emotional investment. Avenged knows this and ends on a kinda-cliffhanger, with the author valiantly trying to inject some pathos into the various stalling storylines. Whether that ploy was successful will be seen next year... if I pick up the final book in the series.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, I had Ruined on my list for ages but if following book is so bad I dunno if I even should start the series, would you recommend to still read Ruined?

    HannahCassie @


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