Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lauren DeStefano has Another Hit on Her Hands with PERFECT RUIN

People tell me all the time that they've "written off dystopians." They are tired of them. Well, as a YA librarian, I can't hardly "write off" an entire genre. Especially now, when there are oodles of them still being published right and left. But what I will do is be very particular about the ones I choose to read. In other words, these books have to compete for my time in ways that they never had to before. 

One of the best ways to win at this competitive race to the top of my pile is to be published by an author I already love. That's how PERFECT RUIN reached the top. Fortunately for me, in this world full of Dystopian/Utopian Sci-Fi books, book 1 in the Internment Chronicles is original and fresh. I had a feeling it would be. I didn't even read the description, but I had read WITHER, so I knew that Lauren DeStefano is a unique storyteller. I was pleasantly greeted with an original premise that kept me reading. That says a lot, since I've been extremely picky lately about the books I read - dystopian or otherwise. I have a huge pile for this summer, so I've been rather fickle. I read this one in 3 days. 

Here is your quickie synopsis: 
Sixteen-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives in Internment, a floating city utopia. But when a murder occurs, everything she knows starts to unravel.

Internment is a city that floats way above the ground. The lore states that humans had become so ungrateful and bratty that the god of the ground was going to get rid of them, but the god of the sky convinced him that the humans were to clever to dispose of, so he agreed to grant them a small island in the sky to live on. They would never to be allowed to return to the ground. Interesting premise, yes? 

So, Morgan is living in this city in the sky called Internment. They've been there several hundred years, and the society has some interesting rules. It's pretty much a police state with arranged marriages, arranged births, and a king to rule over everything. 

But there are some lovely parts of society too, and most people enjoy their organized, somewhat pampered lives. However, these other people, they have a longing to know what's over the edge. They feel that there is more to the world than their tiny island in the sky. Some are so tempted by the mystique of the edge that they jump off. Unfortunately, these "jumpers" always come away with an injury of some type that scars them for life. 

The day a fellow student is murdered changes everything for Morgan and her entire family. Suddenly her small paradise begins to feel claustrophobic and frightening. But that's just the beginning. What she learns next will change her world forever. 

I really enjoyed the premise and curiosity kept me reading. I really wanted to know more about the world. DeStefano has created a world rich with history and religion. The characters are interesting, although I want to know more about Morgan's betrothed, Basil. I feel like he has more going on than we're privy to in this first book. Morgan is well balanced. She's a dreamer, yet still practical when needed and reacts to the events around her in an authentic way. Morgan's best friend Pen is quite the surprise. I love her! I'm also intrigued by the character who made her entrance right at the end. 

I'm really looking forward to the sequel. I was so afraid to look to see if it was out yet. Ack! I was letdown, of course. It doesn't come out until March of 2015! Oh well. Don't let that dissuade you from reading it now. It's totally worth it!

Now that I think about it, it feels a little like the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Sci-Fi Trilogy that I adored so much. Hopefully this series will get even better with each installment, like that one did.