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3.9 out of 5 stars
Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, Book 1)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 October 2013
A Brilliant Introduction to Internment

Lauren DeStefano has written a wonderful book in the Perfect Ruin as the first part of The Internment Chronicles. Having read Perfect Ruin I can see this series running and becoming a very popular fantasy with not only young adults but us older adults too. DeStefano writing is wonderfully fluid and descriptive so that you can build clear images of the characters, the places and more importantly of Internment itself. The publishers hype that these chronicles would suit fans The Hunger Games and Delirium and having read the opening book in The Chronicles there is no argument against that from me. In fact I have all ready cast the film, with Dakota Fanning playing the star role of Morgan Stockhour.

Morgan Stockhour lives in an apartment with her mother and father who is a patrolman and her brother and wife lives in the apartment above theirs. Internment is a City in the sky above the clouds and is cut off from the ground and it has been like that for many centuries. Everybody knows that you cannot go to the edge of Internment as it may lead to madness or at least suspicion by the King and his patrolmen. Pity that Morgan's brother Lex has been to the edge and is referred to like others as a Jumper.

Nothing unpredictable happens in Internment you are born allotted a betrothed go to academy do a job allocated to you, marry, join a queue to have a baby, get old and at the designated age you will be dispatched. You can also be dispatched if you go to close to the edge or commit any other offence the King deems wrong.

Morgan loves her betrothed Basil, her best friend Pen. She becomes quite concerned when for the first time in many generations a murder has been committed and later the accused she is convinced is innocent. She is constantly quizzed by one of the King's Specialists but tells her very little as she does not trust her. Then one day her world is turned upside down as she starts to discover some of the answers to the many secrets that Internment has. Morgan will no longer feel safe in Internment as she starts to look towards the ground that may bring her safety as she loses all things that she held dear in Internment.

Perfect Ruin is a wonderful introduction to The Internment Chronicles and is a brilliant teaser for the next book as you are left wanting to know what happens next. This is a fantasy novel with suspense thrown in for fun. A great book I cannot recommend highly enough.
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on 3 October 2013
A few years ago I was obsessed with young adult dystopian novels. From 'The Maze Runner' and 'The Hunger Games' I went to the 'Gone' series, 'Divergent', 'Matched' and 'Delirium' and while those were enjoyable books (some betters than others, but they were all titles I'd happily picked up further instalments from), after a while a slew of similar trilogies and longer series came out and I became bored of the genre, only picking up some novels here and there to finish up a series I'd been heavily invested in a few months before.

One of the casualties of me dropping most of my YA dystopian series was the 'Wither' trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. I actually really enjoyed the first novel I'd read but because I'd become disinterested in the genre and read so many likewise titles in quick succession it'd became hard to keep them all apart and after a while all I remembered from 'Wither' is that I flew threw the pages because I was gripped by the storyline but the exact plot or any specific details had escaped me.

Now fast-forward a few years, the 'Wither' trilogy has finished and the first title in a new young adult dystopian series by DeStefano is about to be published. I came across the details for the first book in 'The Internment Chronicles' just a few weeks ago and was highly intrigued by the blurb. And so when the UK division of HarperCollins offered some proof copies of the novel up to their Twitter followers, I didn't hesitate to put my name forward, hoping that this novel could reignite my love for the young adult dystopian genre - and I wasn't disappointed.

The story is this: Morgan lives on Internment, which is a city in the clouds above (so we assume) the earth we know. A select group of people moved there generations before to escape whatever was going wrong on earth and while it seems as if everything on Internment is peaceful and orderly, the murder of a girl around Morgan's age sets in motion a series of events that uncover secrets that show that in fact quite the opposite is the case.

Despite Morgan being a model student and citizen, her older brother's status as a "jumper" (someone who, either through their own curiosity or an accident has come too close to the edge of the city and has attempted to jump off to reach what lays below) puts both her and her parents at risk as they're seen as a possible threat to the King and his reign over the city. And as Morgan slowly uncovers the truth, so does the reader and what follows is a highly intriguing and often unexpected journey (literally and figuratively).

I'm really glad that 'Perfect Ruin' is the novel that I chose to reacquaint myself with the young adult dystopian genre as I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it's even got me excited again to read likewise books. It's a well thought-out story, with an interesting array of characters that have a lot of potential to grow into strong people that can lead a revolution down the line (because like with any good dystopian book, there's bound to be a political showdown at some stage!).

I do have to say that the world building was done a tad too slow to my liking and I wanted the story to progress more rapidly than it was as I was keen to find out what was bubbling beneath the surface. Thankfully when we finally got to the stage where the perfect façade was crumbling it had been well worth the wait and at that point I didn't want the novel to end at all; I was dreading turning that final page which would mean I'd have to wait at least another year for the continuation of the immensely gripping last chapter.

In all, while the first instalment in 'The Internment Chronicles' had a bit of a slow start it rapidly got highly intriguing and surprising as the story progressed. And I look forward to reading what will happen to Morgan and the other characters next, and down the line discover the true story behind the origins and reasonings behind the city in the clouds.
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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2013
Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy is one of my favourite series so I was looking forward to this new book from her to begin with and then when I found out what Perfect Ruin was actually about I literally couldn't wait to read it and started it as soon as my copy arrived. I was drawn into the story straight away - Lauren's world building is flawless and her words paint such a vivid picture that you can't help getting sucked in. Perfect Ruin is a mystery driven dystopian novel that has similarities to books like Delirium, Matched, Across the Universe and Divergent but is mostly something completely new and exciting.

The book is about a city in the sky that has a protective force around it stopping anything from getting in and anyone from getting out. Small, claustrophobic and alone in the sky it's important that Internment thrives and so couples are betrothed from birth, have a waiting list to reproduce and are scheduled to die at a certain age to stop overpopulation. Life on Internment is controlled but fair - you can be whoever you want to be and everything is shared out evenly. The lack of need along with the fact that you have nowhere to run means that crime on Internment is a very rare thing and so the whole society is shocked when a teenage girl is found murdered - her number one suspect being her betrothed. Soon a series of crimes begin and our protagonist Morgan starts to question the running of her home in the sky and whether escaping to the ground is as impossible as the King would have them believe.

I loved, loved, loved this new world that Lauren has created! Her descriptions of living amongst the clouds and the stars sounded so beautiful and majestic yet also claustrophobic and limited. Life on Internment is brutal but in a more subtle, discreet way than the world of The Chemical Garden series. Internment is creative and fully developed as a world but it doesn't give up all of its secrets at once. You're always given just enough information to understand what's going on and more is revealed with each chapter right until the very end. Even after finishing this book I'm still left curious about this land in the sky and I suspect that Lauren has a lot more to give us in future books.

I enjoyed getting to know every single character. No matter how small their part each character was interesting and developed. My favourites were Morgan's brother Lex and his wife Alice who I just wanted to wrap up in a big hug they had been through so much! Strangely enough I also really liked Celeste who I'm not sure if I'm supposed to like but I do anyway. She's a curious and interesting character that's for sure! I also really liked Daphne (the murdered girl) who although we never actually meet in this book has a strong presence throughout the novel thanks to the snippets from her essay at the beginning of each chapter.

Overall Perfect Ruin was a brilliant first book to set up the series and kept me up late at night turning the pages. I feel like this series has great potential especially after that cliff-hanger ending that hints that a whole other exciting part of this world is going to be uncovered in book two. In many ways it feels like this story is only just beginning and I can't wait to find out more about this enthralling world in the sequel.
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on 8 October 2013
Perfect Ruin was one of my most anticipated books of the year and not just because it looked interesting, but because of who wrote it. Lauren DeStefano is famous for writing The Chemical Garden series and Perfect Ruin is her first venture outside of that world. It is always interesting to see what an author produces after their big series is over. For the most part Perfect Ruin was a good start to the Internment series but there were a few problems.

Firstly, I really loved the idea. I loved the concept that there was this world in the sky with people walking around, living their lives seemingly peacefully. There was a lot of originality to be found here and there was a lot of potential for this book to be exciting...but that is kind of where the issues were to be found. The story was good but there could have been a lot more going on. Everything moved at a relatively slow pace and not all that much happened. The last quarter was a lot more interesting than the rest but it still wasn't explosive or nail biting. It could have really done with a bit more action or intrigue just to make things a little more interesting.

The writing was strong and I really enjoyed the world building. I could picture Internment and I really liked it. DeStefano really has built an original and interesting world that come across to me as beautiful even if the people in it were not.

The characters were also interesting but suffered from the same issues as the plot. Morgan is perfectly likeable and easy to get on with but she is not interesting enough. She is an ordinary girl which I liked but there was no real personality or charm to her. Her best friend Pen is a lot more interesting but she is unstable and erratic and is not always painted in the best light. Basil, Morgans betrothed, was likable as well, he was sweet and charming but again lacked a little in personality.

Perfect Ruin is a great idea and it has been well written but it was a little bland. Still, it is an enjoyable opening to a new series and a good, fresh start for Lauren DeStefano after The Chemical Garden.
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on 12 October 2013
Having never read a title published by Harper Voyager before or not being overly familiar with a genre that's referred to as dystopian (or fantasy fiction as I've been known to call it) I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the cover of 'Perfect Ruin'.

Within the pages was a whole other world waiting to be discovered, a world that's fascinated by ours!
Soon I was submerged in a thought provoking read that was full of mystery, intrigue and violence.
I found myself in the sky, surrounded by clouds and being governed by a King.

My only qualm at first was that the pace of the story felt a bit slow, but the more I considered it the more I understood.
This isn't a stand alone book so ground work or sky work in this case needs to be put in and believe me when I say, once the story got going it was hard to put down.

I love Morgan and her betrothed Basil, I found the whole idea of a betrothal fascinating and I loved reading about their relationship.
In fact so many things in this story set my brain in motion, what would it be like for another world to grasp the names and uses of the everyday things we see and use.
How would they feel about fashion, technology, weather etc. it swung our world on its axis and made me look at things differently.

Since I didn't know what to expect, I was surprised to discover that Perfect Ruin' had romance, friendship, violence and even a political feel to it and the ending, now that's a cliffhanger that left me googling the release date for the second in the series.

I'm glad I tried something new, this dystopian has certainly opened my eyes!
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on 6 December 2013
Lauren DeStefano does it again! The Chemical Garden trilogy was so good, I wondered whether her next book would live up to it and with Perfect Ruin she has set up the beginning of another truly unique dystopian future. On Internment, DeStefano deals with current issues which are often brought up in dystopian literature, in fact she seems to bring them all up: forced abortion, eugenics, population control, ageist euthanasia and a routinely medicated society. All the while for the inhabitants it might as well be a happy little place to live except for the disturbing lure of the edge which inevitably kills or maims those who get caught in its attraction. A quick, page-turning read with genuinely interesting characters. In this book there is no character defined as the "bad guy" as the King is just a ruler in his tower at this point. I really enjoyed this and while dystopian in nature as her previous books, the author ha gone out in a completely different direction making this series unique from the other. The only thing that annoyed me a bit is that the ending is decidedly a cliffhanger (literally ending with a jump, don't worry not a spoiler, just a pun for those who've read the book LOL). I like books in series to be individual stories themselves with a finite ending, yet remaining part of the whole series. Cliffhanger endings don't impress me but I didn't find this one frustrating as it was more anti-climatic so I'm not docking points. A good solid, unique, fun 5 star read.
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on 11 February 2015
I've read and enjoyed Lauren DeStefano's début series, The Chemical Garden so I was delighted to hear about this new novel, about a city in the sky.
Firstly, I must say that the setting is really wonderful, it's so clever how the people of Internment use different words to we do when it comes to objects and I found the religious element to be quite interesting but I wish there was more depth to that aspect.
The writing style in this novel felt poetic at times and was a joy to read through. This book's ending was also good and I can't wait for the sequel!

My only problem is that I felt that some of the characters lacked depth but hopefully they get more development in the next instalment.
I'd definitely recommend this book to all fans of dystopian and/or young adult fiction.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2014
As always, DeStefano's writing style is beautiful and heartbreaking. Although it's one of those books that sound ridiculous when you try to describe it to someone ('it's about this city in the sky and people try to jump off it but the city won't let them so they fly off it on a giant bird'), it's excellent and you really get drawn into their world. The city could, if written differently, sound ridiculous, but DeStefano writes so brilliantly it seems completely plausible. The only downside is that the next one doesn't come out for ages!
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on 22 March 2016
Mostly because the ending left me hanging so awful.... gawd.
I've read good and bad reviews for this one before I read it, and I feel I fall in the middle somewhere. I liked the setting, kinda neat to think this other place but not planet living in the sky. Even cooler is how they got off this place. But somehow I still wasn't wowed or fell in love with the story. Maybe the next book, with my body off the cliff, I might get into it more. I'm willing to try anyway.
Sci-fi or dystopian fans will probably devour this one. The strange setting is enough to pull a curious reader in, so give it a try anyway.
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on 24 September 2016
Another beautifully written book by DeStefano that leaves you wanting more. The story is different from what you usually see on YA shelve, although it has sci-fi elements I wouldn't class it as such.. It was refreshing to read a book with a female lead who's main storyline wasn't to do with finding love.
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