Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday #Review - Avenged by Amy Tintera #YALit #Fantasy @amytintera @harperteen

Series: Ruined # 2
Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

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 just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. 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. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s 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, she 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.

Avenged is the second installment in author Amy Tintera's Ruined series. In the first installment, Tintera used two main characters, Emelina Flores and Prince Casimir, to tell her story. This time out, Tintera adds Olivia Flores, as well as Aren, who has become an important cog to the series, and one that you definitely should keep an eye out for. Emelina, who has been called the "Useless One" and ignored by the Ruined, has done the impossible. She rescued Olivia from her year long nightmare, while also promising peace with Prince Casimir of Lera.

Now, it is time to return home, rebuild, and pick up the pieces, and hope that she really can keep the peace between kingdoms. But, things really can never go back to the way they were. Emelina, who is not Ruined, but has the strength to do what she needs to do, has to face the people of Ruina who still see her as weak. How anyone can be considered weak after everything that she and Aven did in the previous installment is beyond me. But, when you have superpowers, you see the world through distorted glasses. Em also has to face the disturbing possibility of dismissing her feelings for Cas, while accepting Prince August of Olso's in order to keep the alliance alive.

Meanwhile, with her home demolished, and alliances with the Olso warriors hanging on a very dangerous thread, Olivia, who is still technically Queen of Ruina, is showing signs of going supernova. Don't mess with Olivia. Olivia is really powerful and dangerous and plain crazy as we saw in the previous installment. Olivia has no worries about killing anyone who slights her, hurts Em, or attacks Ruina. The only one who can even come close to having the same level of power is Aren. Aren is able to control the body, and as the story picks up pace, so does his powers. Aren may, in the end, be the one person who can save the world from Olivia's rampage.

Meanwhile, Casimir has a whole lot of issues to deal with. The Ruined are gone. Olso warriors have taken his castle, and much of his kingdom is occupied. The survivors are holed up in Fort Victorra, and more arrive daily. But, none are as important as having his authority questioned and impeached by his own cousin Jovita. Jovita desires war with the Ruined and doesn't care that Cas is supposed to be in charge. Cas has been assured by Em that the Ruined will not attack Fort Victorra, but that doesn't mean that there are others who love to brew trouble in an attempt to reassert their dominance over Ruina.

Especially the hunters who killed Ruined indiscriminately, and would love to get some payback. Cas starts out in a questionable position. He has really no allies while others think he doesn't have the cajones to do what's right for his people. I'd like to say that Cas is a much better character later in the story. Especially when he has friends like Violet who I love along with Iria, who becomes close with Aren. Especially when Em is emphatically in love with him, and he her. Their love is the one thing that keeps this story from diving head long into dark fantasy land.

I have to say, after that ending, I am rather eager to see where Tintera goes with the third installment. Will Cas and Em be able to keep their people safe? Will Em, after everything that she's done, and gone through, including being used as a pawn, be able to gain her happy ever after? Will Aren be able to pick up the pieces left, or will he join with Olivia in world domination? I am Ok with the (4) separate POV's. I think they were warranted, and necessary to expand the world that Tintera has created. I also loved that Aren isn't just a secondary character who just happens to be rather dangerous. Tintera walks a brilliant line with these characters. Nobody is truly evil, nor are they fully good. They have all witnessed and done things that will be judged when all is said and done. 

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