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On the floating city of Internment,you can be anything you dream - a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker... Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There's only one rule: you don't approach THE EDGE. If you do, it's already over.

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city and her home, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her on Internment: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

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 once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, 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 whom she will lose.

356 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2013

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Lauren DeStefano

19 books6,725 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,469 reviews
October 9, 2013

Don’t focus on the edge. Stay inside the tracks. Stay in this little place where awful things happen, but where beauty hides in beams of sunlight, in the green grass and the gentle lapping of the lake forming and destroying watery shapes. Ignore the men in uniforms that stand at length, sullying the image. They’ll be gone soon. Everything will go back to normal.
A beautifully written book that is superior to most YA dystopian novels I have read this year. The world building is intricate, the main character is likeable, and the side characters are immensely well-crafted. The only failing is in the weaker second half of the book, where the plot delved into somewhat of a hurried mess, with some really strange twists that just came out of nowhere.

I hate gushing reviews, and I will try not to do so here, but in my opinion, this book is pretty aptly named. Frankly, Perfect Ruin is anything but a ruin; for me it is a nearly flawless YA dystopian. What drew me to the book was the idea of a floating island in the sky, because it reminded me of the Miyazaki film: Laputa: Castle in the Sky. The concept may be familiar, but the premise is completely different; regardless, I very much enjoyed this rendition.

Our main character is Morgan Stockhour. The setting is Internment, an island removed from the Ground, now ripped up and floating in the sky. It is a small island, it can only support so many people, it is ruled by Decision Makers, and has a King. Over the past centuries, society has developed, it has developed a culture and a religion of its own, and not much at all is known about the Earth, what is known to the people of Internment as the Ground. Few people approach the edge of Internment, to do so, to look down beyond the expanse of space and land is to invite madness. Morgan knows, because her brother, Lex, was one of those Jumpers. She and her family have been shamed by the event, but it doesn't bother Morgan too much. She has her loyal best friend, Pen. She has her wonderful betrothed, Basil.

It is a quiet, uneventful existence, cluttered with small traumas within her family that run deep, but it is life, and Morgan is fairly satisfied with it. Her peaceful existence is shattered, and Internment's citizens are rocked to the core when a murder happens. Crimes are very, very rare in Internment, murder is almost unheard of, and Morgan no longer feels safe. They eventually capture a boy, Judas, who is responsible for the murder, but Morgan's encounters with him and another girl leads her to believe that there's something more lurking underneath the peaceful façade of Internment.
She looks at me, and her eyes are full of so much pain that it astounds me.
“It’s only going to get worse,” she says.
The Plot
Without revealing any spoilers, the only complaint I have towards this book is the plot. It is slowly built up, which is fine with me, but the second half felt so rushed, so out of place, and there were twists in it that just came out of thin air. There was no sense of rationality in some of the things that happened towards the latter of the book. Really, that's the only thing that failed for me.

The Setting
The world building is extraordinary. Not everything is explained completely, but that's fine by me. Why? The gaps in my knowledge of Internment and how it came to be is the same as our narrator Morgan's gaps in understanding. Certain knowledge is kept from the people of Internment, and while the setting is clearly, distinctly, thoroughly explained by Morgan by bits and pieces in the way, some knowledge is omitted simply because she does not know everything, and I find that perfectly acceptable and understandable.

Internment is such an interesting place. Its technologies, traditions, religion are so well-built. It is not spoon-fed to us, you do not need a glossary (thank you, but no thank you, The Bone Season). The terminology is simple and the explanations easily and matter-of-factly given. Morgan is such an excellent narrator, she explains things so clearly and so well that it doesn't seem like we're reading from a textbook. We gradually learn that Internment believes in a Sky God, that they have certain technologies, that betrothals are arranged, that living spaces are assigned. We are given an explanation of how this system came into place. We are given a rough background of the past, of how previously Internment had a class system before it was abolished. Of how illnesses, births, deaths are handled.

All this new information is given to us slowly throughout the novel, starting with the more innocent bits, then slowly going into the more sinister parts of Internment, such as the forced termination of babies if they are conceived before the parents are granted permission. Why the termination of the elderly is necessary. There is an explanation to everything, and the more we learn about Internment society, the darker it becomes; Internment is not the quiet, placid place that it initially seems to be. I absolutely loved the way this world is crafted.

The Characters
I liked Morgan, I really do. She is initially a "soft" character. A dreamer who feels like she's going crazy. Her family is under the stigma of her brother's Jump off the edge, which has left him blind and disabled, and Morgan feels like she is slowly going crazy as well. She fears that she is going to turn into her brother, Lex.
"...she asked if I had thoughts about the edge. I lied, Basil. I told her that of course I didn’t think about the edge. But I do. I dream about it. I want to know what will happen if I cross the tracks. I don’t want to jump; I just want to look down. I want to see what’s down there with my own eyes, not through a scope.”
“What if I’m lured the way Lex was lured?” I say. “What if one day I can’t stop myself and I walk right over the edge?”
She is naive, but not excessively so. She questions herself, like a girl of her age is wont to do. She is a good daughter, she strives to be a good friend, she wants to be someone worthy of her (very wonderful) betrothed. She suppresses her desires because she wants to be normal. Morgan does make some questionable decisions throughout the novel, but overall, her character is a likeable one.

What nailed me to this novel are the side characters. This book has more well-written side characters than any YA novels I can recall reading this year. In so many YA novels, side characters are...well, sidelined. They are given no personality beyond that of being convenient supporters or foils to the main character. This novel does not do that. Every single side character is well-built, with wonderfully layered complexity; I absolutely loved the insight into each character's personality and relationship with Morgan.

Morgan's relationship with her family is so complex. Morgan's quiet sadness about her mother's deep, devastating depression. Her disappointment about the lack of relationship and time with her father due to his busy work schedule. Her love/hate relationship with her brother, Lex (one of my favorites). Her empathy and pity for her brother's lovely wife, Alice. Alice and Lex's loving, complicated, almost one-sided relationship at times. Morgan's best friend Pen, and her boisterous personality that masks something underneath. Pen and her betrothed Thomas' hate...then growing tolerance for each other. I cannot emphasize how well-depicted the side characters are. They are absolutely spectacular.

The Romance
Here's something you guys will probably never hear from me again regarding an YA novel. I absolutely loved the romance in this book.

I don't usually fall in like with guys in books. I can name probably 2 guys in the history of all the books I've read who have been worthy of being added to my "book boyfriend" shelf. Well, the main love interest in this book, Basil, came pretty freaking close to being book-boyfriend #3. I'm also pretty notorious for my dislike, nay, my utter disdain accompanied by profanity-laced rants regarding a certain topic as a "love triangle." Well, let me just say in that sense, regarding this book, I am happy. Despite my persistent fear of such a horrifying occurrence happening in this book, I ended up being very, very happy. *sigh*

Morgan has been betrothed to Basil since they were practically born. It is an assigned betrothal, every single person in Internment is given a partner, and once that partner is gone...there is no other. Basil is...well, perfect. Morgan and Basil have always been friends, but lately, her feelings towards him seems to have gradually changed, from one of casual friendship, to something that hints at more to come.
I rest my head on his shoulder. His collarbone presses into my cheek, and I breathe in the sharp linen of his uniform and something faintly spicy-sweet. Up until last year, he smelled only of soap, if anything at all.
Their relationship...their trust in one another, Basil's protectiveness of her---which, by the way, is never overbearing, his belief in her, his willingness to give her space, his faith in her. I haven't come so close to swooning over a guy in a novel for a long time.
“Morgan.” He takes my hands. “Whatever you decide, I want you to know that I’ll stand behind it. I said I’d follow you off the edge, and I meant it. I’d jump into the sky with you. Wherever you go, you won’t have to go alone.”
*swallows lump in throat* I'm forming a Basil fanclub. Who's with me?

Highly recommended due to a beautifully-crafted dystopian setting, gorgeous writing, and a wonderfully complex cast of characters.
Profile Image for Sydney.
129 reviews66 followers
October 30, 2013
Guys.. I finished it. Review to come. But seriously. Read it. ReaditreaditreaditREADIT

--------- Original Reaction ------

Another DeStefano series?

My reaction to the premise?

Release date?



Read all my reviews at www.rattlethestars.com
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
December 4, 2013
Perfect Ruin has a fantastic concept with the same easy flowing writing from DeStefano's Chemical Garden series. Constrained on this island the size of a fist, we're taken into the life of Morgan who's been starting to wonder what's over the edge. The one thing that is forbidden to all residents of this floating city. Oh did I forget to mention that part? Yes, the city is floating somewhere above earth. This lone city. With people. Living there!

Not only is this place the size of a cracker, but now people are being found dead. Murdered. And not nicely either - if there is such a thing. Not only do I love the fitting name - Perfect Ruin - but this story had me captivated from the get go. It has a gripping claustrophobic feel to it all, though the best part is the unknown. My imagination was on overdrive! Everything about this this confined life is so mesmerizing in an almost shocking way, and you're absolutely craving to know what the heck this place is really about. There is definitely more to it than the "a God created it all" explanation from their history books. Since it's told in Morgan's perspective we can't know more than she does, however - which is not much. We quickly learn that anyone who gets too close to the edge goes mad - as in mentally. Also, if anyone actually jumps they just get thrown right back on by some force of nature (or something)…usually dead. We're never made entirely sure of anything but we're told all of these compelling rid-bits that make us want to plow right through. The questions running rampant in my head kept me completely engrossed. Eventually... this made me cry, because we get no answers AT ALL. *throws book in toilet* It ends on an exciting cliffhanger (which I'm a sucker for) that promises tons of answers in the sequel, but as for this first installment we're left hanging on every angle. If only it had been a bit longer, or the middle cut shorter, it would have made room for just enough progression. I feel like this was more of an introduction.

With that said, this book focuses on developing the world in an internal sense. We learn plenty about the inner workings of this floating rice cake. How it's governed, how they live and get schooled, how population is controlled and such. The city was very much in the foreground of the novel. By the end I could clearly picture every corner of it - physically and governmentally. It's intricately designed. I guess it would be reminiscent of how she built the world in her other series. She meticulously crafted the house and its vibe in Wither before heading into the real world in the following books. Ample attention is also given to her characters. When I turned the last page I knew Morgan inside and out. How she thinks, what she believes in, what she questions, her strengths and flaws. The secondary characters, however, could be a hit or miss for me. I loved her brother, her best friend, and Amy. Their personalities are addictive. It's the love interest, Basil, that I found less interesting. He's a complete mystery to me, still. Judas is more or less the same, but he seems to have better potential with a more vibrant personality. Although, his presence feels like the works of a love triangle...

From page 1 I was dying to know more about this immensely intriguing world, and after the last page, my curiosity was annoyingly left to its own desperate devices. That aside, Perfect Ruin is an engaging read with an exciting concept and a lot of promise!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
December 1, 2017
Review also here

3.5 stars

On reading the synopsis of this book (and on hearing the supposed creation story of Internment) I was reminded of this song..

oh those childhood memories...

The first three quarters of this book are setting up the world and characters with most of it describing Morgan's daily life and descriptions of Internment. Normally I hate books that are supposed to be something out of the ordinary but instead go on about the daily lives of the characters. But this one was written in such a detailed engaging way that it was hard to lose interest. The writing and the connections with the characters were masterfully done leaving me wanting to know how things turned out in the end.

Morgan and her friends were all realistic and well described and I love how the author made sure they were all together at the end without it feeling sugarcoated and unrealistic. The thing I didn't like so much was the rushed ending and I thought there could have been more of a wow factor on the fact that the characters were leaving home. But other than that this book was well crafted.

On mentioning the world, in this book there was no real history on how Internment came to be only the story people are led to believe. Once again normally I really don’t like vague first books but this one was so beautifully written that for me it was almost impossible to lose interest at any time 😛 I will definitely be reading on and hope to find out more about this world.

I would recommend this book to fans of Lauren Oliver and people who enjoy an engaging dystopia that is well written and doesn't give all its secrets up at once. I can't wait to find out more about their world as it definitely has a The City of Ember feel.
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 16 books5,125 followers
October 8, 2013
What a gorgeous book. I have been a fan of Lauren DeStefano since I first read Wither a few years back. Her writing is on another level. Every word, every sentence, seems flawlessly stitched together. Her characters practically soar off of the page. This story has a fabulous plot line. Super unique, just like the world of Internment, which floats in the clouds. It begins with Morgan, a girl who dreams of going to the edge: it is forbidden, yet it calls to her every day. Morgan just wants to be normal. She wants to do what she's told, and marry her betrothed in a few years' time, and most importantly, not end up like her brother, who tried to jump over the edge a few years back.

Fast forward in the novel, to where a murder of an innocent girl takes place. The world of Internment is thrown off balance, and everyone is afraid. But for some reason, Morgan seems fascinated by that fear. It draws her even MORE towards the edge...and others along with her.

This book is beautifully written. Perfect pacing, a haunting mystery...I couldn't put it down. It's very different from the Chemical Garden Trilogy, yet the same in the sense that it's so atmospheric and lovely. I received a review copy for free from the publisher, but loved it so much that I purchased the hardcover to keep on my shelf!

Looking forward to the sequel. Will preorder it ASAP!
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
917 reviews13.9k followers
August 18, 2015
2.5 stars

This book is my favorite simply because it is so beautiful. From the chapter titles to the inside flaps to the actual cover, it's a gorgeously designed book. I wish the story inside matched the appearance. But this is just your typical dystopian. The setting was interesting, being an island in the clouds, but the plot was completely typical of any dystopian-- corrupt, lying government, naive citizens, rebel institution, escape, etc.-- and with characters that weren't very memorable and a vibe that felt VERY similar to Matched by Allie Condie (a book I hate), I'm very let down by this. However I loooove Lauren Destefano, both as a human being and because of her writing. It's written so nicely and, again, the world itself is pretty cool. I don't think i'll be picking up the sequel(s).
Profile Image for Brooke's Epic Emporium.
881 reviews193 followers
September 24, 2014
 photo 282859_10151870408082150_231554870_n_zps43689983.jpg

Um, yeah, it was that good I finished it in a day (kids bugging me and all!). EXCELLENT! Review to come!

I want to give a huge thank you to Simon and Schuster, who sent me an ARC of this book when I requested it. I am eternally grateful for having this opportunity as this is a book I have been really looking forward to reading. Receiving this book for free has in now way influenced my opinion or review.

Blurb 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.

I am a huge fan of Lauren DeStefano's The Chemical Garden series. While I wasn't so sure of the premise when I read it, the writing was unbelievable and just pulled me along through the story so effortlessly. So, when I found out that Lauren was starting a new series I was very excited to see what it was all about, especially once she started posting teasers for it.. As a matter of fact, I didn't even need to read the blurb of the book to know that it would be something I would want to pick up. And I was not wrong in any way!

The cover of this book is just amazing. It's simple and beautiful. There's something about the red that really grabs your eye and just holds it there. I've studied it quite a number of times and the more I look at it the more I love it. Not for the fact that it necessarily gives hints to the story but because it is so eye catching in it's simplicity.

When you first meet the characters and are introduced to their world, it's completely intriguing. Who would not want to find out about an island floating in the sky, broken away from what we now know as Earth? And despite the different society these characters live in, we still see they have some normalcy of teens, going about their normal days at school, dealing with normal teen problems (when will I kiss a boy? what will it be like?).
But DeStefano quickly debunks that these teens are anything but normal. They are made of the society in which they live and forced to follow the laws and rules which that society's Kings have created to keep them safe. But, as with any government run society, there are people who question the motivations of those who make the rules, question the reality that has been set before them. DeStefano creates a world that is imaginative and dystopian in nature while still flitting on the edges of fantasy and a bit of science fiction. A perfect society that is suddenly thrown into chaos when a murder is committed for no known reason.

Morgan and her family appear to be your typical family of Internment (the floating island in the sky). At first we see she is in school, engaged to her betrothed (as all teens become at a certain age). Her father works as a patrolman, he brother writes. But then things start to fall apart and her family is anything but perfect. Her brother, a recovering jumper, is blind and can't function in society, his wife spends her days making sure he's safe. Her mother suffers from terrible headaches that all but disable her for much of the time. Her father seems to dedicate himself so much to his job he's never home. And Morgan herself, has started to wonder if there's something wrong with her. The edge of Internment, a place which is forbidden, seems to be calling to her, but she can't understand why. And, since he brother's injury is directly related to having jumped at the edge of the floating island, she wonders if she's not going crazy herself with her thoughts of what else is out there. Morgan makes a lot of growth in this story. She goes from someone willing to accept how her society is, to questioning things she never thought she would.
Morgan's best friend, Pen, is a bit on the wild side, and the opposite of Morgan's shy demeanor. While she doesn't directly disobey the rules of their society, you can see she's teetering on the edge. She takes things just that bit too far, with how she dresses, with how she shuns her betrothed a bit, even with how she acts. And Morgan's betrothed, Basil, is not what I expected at all. He seems prim and proper, wanting to do right by Morgan whatever may come. So, when things go haywire, I expect him to conform only to society's rules and laws. Yet, he seems to have an underlying want to turn against what he's known. Lex, Morgan's brother, is very much the outcast you often find in stories such as this. He stays holed up in his home, writing stories, but never doing anything with them. He was at one time a productive part of society, before he decided to jump and lost his sight. I really want to find out more about him. While he lends a hint of what will happen to those who disobey to the story, I fell like there is something else we need to learn from him, something else his background will show us. I'm still confused as to why he jumped and I need to know more! Judas, well, I thought for sure he would play different role in Morgan's life when I first met him, but he didn't, which I was actually grateful for. He's a bit of a mystery, which I am sure is intentional, and I'm sure we're going to find out more of his story in the future. Finally, while we never actually meet Daphne, we get to know her a bit through her quotes at the head of each chapter.

All the characters in this book are fairly well developed and executed. I would like to know more about them for sure as I think there are some secrets we still have yet to learn; secrets that will help us understand Internment and it's society.

I love that the romance is not the complete focus for this book. The romance is well established right from the very beginning. It's there, and the tension that comes along with it just flits along the outskirts of the story, but you are not wrapped up in it and consumed by it. The overall story plot revolves around the murder of Daphne Leander and how it puts Internment into turmoil. Since there hasn't been a murder in many, many years, it is unthinkable to a large part of Internment's society how something such as this could have happened. It has people scared and completely thrown from the course of their lives. DeStefano has come up with such a unique premise with this world in the sky. How did it get there? How does it stay there? What secrets does it hold? When I first started reading, I thought for sure that Internment was another planet and the characters were perhaps what we would consider aliens. But it's not at all like they, they are human in every way, except they live on a piece of land that hovers in the clouds.

Once again I was enthralled with Lauren's writing. It is lyrical and totally poetic. I didn't want to put the book down because her words had me wrapped up and taken away. She writes eloquently and with such ease. Her words are engaging and fascinating. The words not only flow off the page, but right into your head, encasing you in the plot and theme of the story and not letting you go. Even at the end, I was left wanting more, left wondering how the next book in this series will continue to bewitch me. But I have total confidence that DeStefano will do it for sure! She introduces the world to us in small bites, adding on to each step until we can "see" the complete picture of this society. However, as with any dystopian, this society is certainly now what it seems, and the rulers have their secrets, as well.

And, of course it wouldn't be a trilogy without giving us some sort of cliff hanger at the end! While I often get annoyed with cliff hangers, this one just makes me want to jump right into the next book! I can't wait for it! I can't wait to find out what DeStefano has in store for her characters as she leads them through the unknown.

Get it, read it, love it!
5/5 fist pumps from me!
Profile Image for Macarena Yannelli.
Author 1 book956 followers
February 19, 2017
Una muy buena distopia. Hacía bastante que no leía una y esta particularmente me encanto. La idea general del libro es muy interesante y Lauren Destefano no tiene pelos en la lengua para traer a colación temas tabu o conflictivos en la sociedad de hoy en día.
Se los recomiendo guys :)
Reseña completa en Gracias a los Libros
PD: El cover-change de esta saga es perfecto. Las portadas anteriores son bellas pero se veían muy infantiles :/
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,372 reviews921 followers
March 2, 2015

Morgan Stockhour is a resident of Interment, an island that has been separated from Earth and now floats above it in the sky. Internment possesses the ideal conditions of a Utopian society until the shocking murder of a young girl leaves everyone feeling unsafe.

‘You have all heard the warnings about the edge. We have been told its winds are a song that will hypnotize us, and by the time we awaken from the trance, it will be too late.’

The warnings to not peer over the edge, to look down on Earth’s people, have been drilled into all residents since before anyone can remember. Those that chance this danger are known as Jumpers and Morgan’s brother Lex is counted among the few to have survived, except he is now blind. Here lies my first issue. We end up meeting another of these ‘Jumpers’, a young girl, yet she ends up with a mind that isn’t “quite right” (something sounding a lot like epilepsy). No reasoning behind the differences in their injuries is given. But you’d think an island floating in the sky would have severe winds especially near the edge and you wouldn’t be able to be anywhere close to it.

The world-building is spent mostly on the culture of these people, rather than explaining the actual reasoning behind why an island just randomly detached from Earth and floated to a still livable position in the sky and not straight out into space. But basically the way the society works is there’s the evil group of leaders, a King and Queen, that seek to control all aspects of the residents lives including arranged marriages from birth. And then it goes off on a typical tangent with the evil plot being discovered and the subsequent plan to escape/overthrow those evil doers. It was hard to get a feel for the time period this is set in. The society seemed technologically advanced yet had the feel of a medieval type era with its arranged marriages and King/Queen rulers. But you would think it’d have to be set in a distant past since one would expect the people on Earth to fly up and make contact with the ‘island people’, no?

The slow, meandering pace of the introduction was an interesting first look into this strange society and could have worked were it not for the continued slow, meandering pace even after the murder mystery aspect was introduced. Even during moments when you would expect a certain level of excitement or tension were made inexplicably dull. Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting dystopian tale turned very predictable and far from original.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
966 reviews741 followers
December 30, 2019
Perfect Ruin had ruined me perfectly. Okay, not perfectly, but almost. The book was haunting and gripping at first and haunting and gripping at second. Hehe. Basically, Perfect Ruin is a great read.

The first time I've read the blurb that the story was taken place in a floating city, I am like, 'Okay! You got me!'. It isn't always that I encounter books that has a setting in a floating city so this was kind of interesting already. And If I am not mistaken, this is the first time I have read one.

Internment is the name of this floating city. It was just a small part taken to the ground that was brought up in the sky, but we aren't really sure about that. Actually, there are no concrete explanations of why there is a floating city, in the first place. And I'm sure it will be detailed on the next book since it was also an issue to our characters.

CHARACTERS. Characters of this book weren't annoying and their existence really make sense. They are likable. Their voices were believable and each has a distinct personality.

So let me be straight to the point. Think of this: If you were kind of a very curious individual and you lived in a floating city, what will be the greatest one idea you really want to know? Of course, the idea of what's with the ground, what's under this floating city. Is Perfect Ruin all about these? Maybe or maybe not. Read it if you want to find out.
Profile Image for Louisa.
497 reviews364 followers
October 10, 2013
"We have the free will to stay on this side of the train tracks. If we cross over to the other side, we get too close to the edge, and it mystifies us. We see how infinite the sky is and we lose our senses. Even the people we love most disappear from our thoughts in that moment."

Gorgeous writing + careful and well-developed world-building + fleshed-out characters = a win for the genre. This is certainly one of the best examples of how young adult dystopian/utopian can be done well. The romance isn't front and center, for one, and the book is really made by Morgan's voice and the world of Internment, rather than *kissyface.jpg*.

I was a little girl when I first watched Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Hayao Miyazaki's films have had a supreme impact on my life. I spent years after that first viewing wondering it would be like to live in the sky, so much so that I developed a fascination with space and the universe. I love sitting in the window seat on planes specifically so I can look out, imagining people walking on cotton candy, floating above ground without worries.

Internment, meanwhile, has its share of worries, despite being a island-city in the sky. For centuries it has existed high above ground, its citizens warned not to approach the edge on the other side of the train tracks. Those who do almost inevitably go mad. Morgan's brother, Lex, is himself a Jumper, having gone blind after his attempt at the edge. This causes a rift in the Stockhour family, but for a while life is still relatively peaceful - till a girl is found murdered by the train tracks.

This is where the world-building really shows itself. Details are given when necessary, such as when we discover the girl's body and are told crime is almost non-existent in Internment. Betrothals are arranged so no one will ever be alone, living arrangements made for everyone, even births and deaths regulated to prevent under- or overpopulation. There's a dark undertone to all decisions made that isn't clearly discernable. For example, Lex's wife Alice was forced to undergo a termination procedure for getting pregnant before her "queue number" for pregnancy was up. However, the King is excepted from this rule. He had two children only a year apart, while everyone else has to wait several years between having children.

(Also if you have twins, one is drowned. Imagine the field day we'd have over that...)

It's a quiet sort of existence... one made for eventual rebellion. When the biggest rule of your society is that you can never go or even look at the ground, you can be sure people will start looking for ways to escape.

That's the lie Morgan has to live. She loves Internment, but she dreams of more. She doesn't want to turn into her brother Lex, but yet she dreams of the edge.

"Things are changing, Little Sister, and not for the better. I have a feeling about that. But I would dock Internment to the ground and take you someplace brilliant if I could."

"Internment is brilliant," I say. "It's more than enough."

More than enough. I repeat the words over and over in my head, forcing them to be true.

The murder of the girl, Daphne Leander, rocks Morgan's world, especially when Morgan comes across Daphne's little sister Amy, who was a Jumper herself. When Daphne's betrothed, Judas, is arrested for her murder, he escapes and runs across Morgan too. Morgan starts realising that Internment is more than what meets the eye. But she can't show any signs, for more patrolmen guard the streets now, and the King is sending specialists to interview students.

Among all that, Morgan has to cope with her father being on duty all the time (he's a patrolman) and her mother losing herself in headache elixirs. Her relationship with her brother is fraught with tension. She's afraid her best friend, Pen, will lose herself in tonics like Pen's mother did. And her feelings towards her betrothed are slowly changing.

I love Morgan. She's a great MC - ignorant of certain things yet not stupid. She strives to be a good person. Pen even calls her a "diplomat", which is pretty true. You can follow her learning progress, and her relationships with her family, friends and Basil, her betrothed, are incredibly developed. No character is useless. You chart Pen's changing relationship with Thomas, her betrothed, how she develops a tolerance and then love for him. You watch Morgan's friendship with Pen change, but at the same time, how she tries so hard to be a good friend.

Ton­ic is a pe­cu­liar med­ica­tion I will nev­er un­der­stand. I’ve asked Lex and he says it makes con­men of any­one it af­fects. I sup­pose he’s right. I am in­con­spic­uous when I check for the scent of it on her clothes and on her breath on the days when she’s es­pe­cial­ly mo­rose. She doesn’t see that I peek in­to her satchel on the train. And when she brings ton­ic in­to the cav­ern, I don’t fight her. I come along, en­ter­tain­ing her jokes to keep her spir­its high. I make sure she gets home safe­ly.

Thomas has ar­gued with me about this. He tells me I should take the bot­tle away. But I know that if I did, she would on­ly avoid me the way she avoids Thomas when she feels smoth­ered. I wish she would stay away from her moth­er’s ton­ic, but if she must have it, I would pre­fer she isn’t alone. I nev­er judge her.

Score one for positive female friendships!

The romance between Basil and Morgan is ADORABLE. I really appreciate DeStefano not turning this into a rebellion-against-arranged-marriages deal. Basil and Morgan have been promised to each other before they were born, only to each other, for when you lose your betrothed you are consigned to live the rest of your life alone. (Ugh, how sad.) They start off as friends, and Morgan eventually starts feeling more for Basil.

“Do you re­al­ly be­lieve the good out­weighs the bad?” I say.

“It has to.” He sees how lit­tle this con­soles me, and he nudges my fore­head with his chin. “I’ll al­ways be here to make sure you’re safe.” (...)

“I’ll al­ways be here to make sure you’re safe, too,” I say. “Even if you are the one who’s stronger.”

“You’re strong,” he says. “Be­lieve me about that.”

His fin­gers weave be­tween mine, and if I were bold­er, I’d bring his hand to my heart so that he could feel what he’s do­ing to it.

Basil himself is lovely. No, really, he's such a lovely guy. I absolutely hate it when nice guys don't get what they deserve. They are constantly thrown over for the "bad boys", the "more interesting" ones. They're severely underrated both in fiction and real life.

Basil is protective but understands Morgan's boundaries, unerringly believes in her, and supports her through her moments of crisis about the edge. I honestly believed they were meant for each other. Like when two really nice people you know IRL come together and you fangirl all over the place wondering why it didn't happen sooner? Exactly like that.

The plot goes slowly in the first half, then kind of preternaturally speeds up in the second. That's pretty much the only reason I knocked off a star. Pacing issues aside, this lived up to my expectations and even almost exceeded them. I was never interested in DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy, but I'm glad I didn't let that influence my decision to pick this up.

I'm definitely getting myself a physical copy! This is how much I'm liking this series so far now. After that colossal disappointment that was Taken ...

*two thumbs up*
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
October 29, 2013
I've read Lauren's debut novel, Wither, and while the idea behind that particular story-line didn't blend well with what I look for in an escape, I still enjoyed Lauren's strong and passionate writing skills and was anxious to read a new book by her. I'm happy to say that the Perfect Ruin was the perfect book to reintroduce myself with Lauren's work. I found it refreshingly unique, intriguing, suspenseful and even romantic. Simply put, I loved it.

High above the clouds is an oval floating city called, Internment. There, everyone is getting ready for the festival of stars, a long month tradition that's been followed for hundred of years. But there isn't much to celebrate when a young girl named Daphne was found murdered and left on the train tracks. Internment is in utter chaos as new rebellious acts follow the murder and the person suspected to be responsible has been caught. Sixteen year old Morgan has never seen her world like this. It's frightening, but it makes her curious and soon she starts to voice questions that she's only just admitted to herself. Things about the edge, the ground and the what if's of Internment and the only sky she's ever known and if it's the only possible answer after all. Not everything is what it seems and Morgan is caught in between her safe and perfect world up in the sky and the unknown ground below.

You know, I was really surprise and impressed with this book, I never thought I'd enjoy it the way I did. When I picked up this book, my intention was to only read the first chapter, but the story was so compelling and different I just couldn't stop reading, and before I knew it I was done. I can see now why Lauren is such a loved writer. I may not have enjoyed her debut novel the way I wanted to, but Perfect Ruin just sings right off the pages. I adored the way Destefano set this world high above the clouds. It's a crisp world, good natured, educated and well mannered. The people of Internment have their traditions and rules and leaders and decision makers about marriage and children and life and death. It's the way they've always lived. It may be limited, but it's happy, simple and at peace. Lauren captures this world beautifully and it was fun and absorbing to see how things would play out next.
However, the looming deaths and impending doom seemed to repeat often, reminding the readers what these characters are facing. It gave it that edgy, anxious and desperate tone but it also felt a tad dragged out, not enough to be boring, but just enough that it tested my patience, wanting to get on with the story.

I really loved all of these amazingly put together and well developed cast of characters. Each has a personality that was simple perfect for this particular world and each brought in that certain spark to make me feel instantly connected and entertained.
Morgan is a dreamer. Her head is always down on the ground instead of being up in the sky like everyone else. But she simple can't help it. She dreams what it would be like to look over the edge of the floating city and see the scattered patterns on the ground and what else there is to discover. She doesn't necessary want to be a jumper but just knowing the unknown is apart of who she is. She dares to question her existence and challenges the way they live, which is what makes her unique but puts her in danger.
Pen is the best friend that everyone needs in their life. She's a sassy, true and loyal friend that has a firecracker attitude. She may seem a little snobbish at times, but I think that's just her way and she doesn't really mean any harm. Specially the way she treats Thomas, who is just as sweet and loving as they come.
Basil is my favorite character. He's the ever present and constant light in Morgan's life. I adore the way he protects her and stands by her, loving her no matter what she does or how she thinks.
I also really enjoyed Lex and Alice. Lex is complicated and a bit mad, and I wish we got to learn a little more of his back story on why he jumped over the edge and how he went blind, but still, he was a fantastic addition and so was Alice who has the patience of a saint.
My favorite part of the story is the fact that the romance between Morgan and Basil is sweet, tender and constant. It was refreshing to see that it wasn't threatened when a new mysterious character was introduced. In most books I read, the girl always seems so uncertain of who she's with and then there ends up being some kind of love triangle. I'm thrilled that it wasn't the case here, since I'm rather fond of Basil and Morgan together. They gave the story that hope it needed in times of madness and they made me smile. A lot.
I also really liked the ending. It has my mind spinning of the possibilities of what's to come and anticipating the second book that much sooner.

All in all, I really enjoyed myself with this book. The writing is brilliant, the story line riveting and the characters remarkable. Destefano has a new fan and I can't wait to see where she takes these characters next! An outstanding read!
Profile Image for Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}.
196 reviews154 followers
December 17, 2013
The Internment Chronicles is Lauren DeStefano's first venture outside the world of The Chemical Gardens series, which brought her to fame. While I expected Perfect Ruin to be less enjoyable than the Chemical Gardens (simply because it's hard to top), I'm still very disappointed by it. Perfect Ruin had an interesting premise but the execution was simply subpar.

Perfect Ruin takes place on a postage stamp sized utopia called the 'Internment'. The name itself does not exactly sound very promising, but don't let it fool you. From first glance, Internment's society is perfect. There's virtually no crime, living arrangements are made for everyone, and everything is balanced to make sure there is neither over nor under population. Everything is perfect.

Or at least - it was. A brutal, gory murder of a young girl rocks the island off balance and now, no one feels safe.

Despite my general dislike for the book, I have to admit that Lauren DeStefano's world building is exquisite and thorough. By the end of the novel I have a concrete idea of Internment without it being overwhelming. She introduces aspects of Internment slowly and on an as-needed basis.

However, DeStefano's world building tended to focus more on the physical and cultural features of Internment (which isn't a bad thing), and I found myself still having major unresolved questions. For example, what is this island doing there? Has it always been there - or did something happen? What's with the royal family - how did they come into power? What time period is it? In some ways it was modern but in others it felt distinctly like a steampunk novel set sometime in the mid twentieth century.

As much as I enjoyed the world building, the writing and somewhat confusing and idiotic plot completely ruined the book for me. The writing was heavily flawed in ways that I would expect from, say, a debut author. However, DeStefano is most definitely not a debut author.

The pace and tension were completely off. To accompany the slow as hell pace, there was literally no tension despite the fact that Perfect Ruin is a murder mystery. I had little (at times no) interest in actually getting to the end of the book.

Oh and don't even get me started on the plot. In the beginning it was very interesting but the moment the twist comes up, the plot suffered immensely. The last half of the book was rushed and incredibly boring. It just wasn't what I have come to expect from DeStefano.

The characters were nice for the most part and I genuinely liked a few of them like Morgan's brother, Lex and his wife. They were sweet and interestingly flawed characters. I couldn't like Morgan's friend much. I hated how she treated her fiancé especially. She was awful and verbally abusive towards him, even though it was stated that she had 'true' feelings towards him.

Morgan herself was a very boring character, honestly. She wasn't special in any way, nor remarkable. While I didn't hate her, all I felt was indifference towards her.

Overall, Perfect Ruin was a perfect mess for me with a few good qualities that just couldn't quite redeem the book. I definitely do not recommend this book, especially not to fans of the Chemical Garden series.
Profile Image for Gillian.
458 reviews1,080 followers
October 23, 2013

Rating: Blah and boring for 200 pages, and then the ending is amazing. HOW DO I RATE THAT? 1-2 star beginning, 3-4 star end. ANNOYING.

Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

What an odd thing this book was. I was all set to give it two stars and a shrug. I was even flirting with a DNF at one point. But because I purchased it, and it happens to be the prettiest book in all the land, I persevered. The beginning of this book is unbelievably boring, despite the stellar world-building, occasionally gorgeous (and occasionally silly) writing, and brilliant concept. Morgan Stockhour, our main character AND our viewpoint character, has about as much personality as a toenail. Simply put, not very much happens, or the same thing happens over and over, or all the cardboard characters have long cardboard conversations with one another.

And then, all of a sudden, a hundred pages from the end, things happen. Damn you book.

Perfect Ruin is set on Internment, a utopian floating city in the sky completely isolated from the ground. It is its own unique universe with unique rules, the key of which is to avoid the edge and all thoughts of what might be below. I give DeStefano all the credit in the world for the original way she executed Internment and the intricacies of life on a city "the size of the king's fist". But oh, was most of this book a slog. And it shouldn't have been, considering that there was an attempt at plotting. There's a murder and a fire and mysterious things. Too bad none of that was made remotely exciting, mostly because Morgan is about as scintillating as a pancake (wait. No. Pancakes are fascinating. I LOVE PANCAKES. Wait, what was I talking about?).

Seriously. It took me 200 pages to care about Morgan, and that is 200 pages too many. We're told she's a daydreamer, she's imaginative, blah blah. Whatever. The only characters with any personality were Pen, her best friend, and Lex, her elder brother, who is a "jumper" or one who has approached the edge. Couldn't Pen have been the main character? I loved her. And Lex deals with loving people by shouting at them and telling them to leave him alone, so obviously I loved him best.

The romance. Oh my god. Blaaaaaaaaaaaah. In Internement, children are engaged from birth, so Morgan is betrothed to this boy named Basil and snorrrrrrrrrre. Really, is there meant to be a love triangle? I could not figure out her connection to Judas, who is suspected of murdering his betrothed, but who Morgan just knows is innocent. She just knows it. Um, I only know it because I know you're a character in a book, and books have twists, Morgan. What's your reasoning?

DeStefano writes in lush but often lifeless prose that sometimes caused me to roll my eyes ("she lifted her burden of eyelashes"). Every now and then I would stop and marvel at a particularly gorgeous passage or phrase, but none of that impressed me until I started to car about the characters. I read for connections, not just prose, and sometimes prose that exceptional coupled with flat characters can be pretty distancing.

Also, DeStefano has an incredibly annoying habit of leaving in a lot of "he says" and "she says" and "I say". So many of those should have been edited out. When her writing was on, though, it was on.

"Ghosts aren't terrible," he says. "They aren't real. They're a
fantasy we've concocted to tell ourselves this life isn't the only one
we get. Even at their worst, ghosts are doing us some good."

But then... all of a sudden... I got super invested. Why? Because DeStefano DID SOMETHING. DIRECTLY TO THE MAIN CHARACTER. The shitteth hath hitteth the fan! Eth! Morgan got an infusion of personality, the story got an infusion of plot, and stuff went down, yo. It sucks that the only good stuff is the stuff I can't talk about, as it is majorly spoilerrific, but the ending is really, really, really good. Shockingly good. Why couldn't the rest of the book have been that good??? Now I'm even more annoyed by the blah beginning.

So yes, obviously I need the second book, and I'm sure it will be an identical experience, but... I must know what happens!! CURSE YOU, DESTEFANO.
Profile Image for Cesar.
355 reviews235 followers
November 7, 2016
4 stars

“You have all heard the warnings about the edge. We have been told its winds are a song that will hypnotize up, and by the time we awaken from that trance, it will be too late."

Holy crap. I had this book in my shelves for over 3 years. 3 Years! I bought the book shortly after I finished Lauren DeStefano's other series, the Chemical Garden series, and I was looking forward to reading it. I liked the Chemical Garden trilogy. It had its few bumps along the way, but it was a good series. So I bought Perfect Ruin.

I was going to read it......... but I didn't. I don't know why, but I held it off for a while. Then I later found out the sequel, Burning Kingdoms was going to be released in 2015, not 2014! So I waited a bit more until the last book was released. So here I am.

Anyways, let's get on with the review!

Perfect Ruin takes place in a floating sky city called Internment where Morgan is just living her life until something bad happens. This soon sets off a chain reaction of unexplained events happening, causing Morgan to question what is going on in Internment and if it's really a safe place.

From the start, I loved the writing! Seriously, the writing in this book is so good and lyrical. Lauren DeStefano has a way with words. She and Lauren Oliver are some of my favorite authors because their writing is so beautiful and captivating!

"Novelists weave tales of ghosts and villains and what the ground must be like. This is accepted so long as these things are presented as fiction."

The setting is so original. I've never read about a book where it takes place in a sky city! A city in the freaking SKY! The city of Internment is both fascinating and terrifying if you think about it. Fascinating because it's a city in the sky and terrifying because you never know what is going on. I can't say if this is a fantasy or a sci-fi/dystopian novel. I would say it leans towards the dystopian side because the people of Internment do have access to some technology. And it is a monarchy city. So the setting is great.

Morgan and the rest of the cast are likable characters. They have their own personalities and it makes them stand out as individuals on Internment. Even the romance (though I wouldn't call it a romance since Morgan is betrothed to Basil) is good. Nothing over the top so that was good.

My only one problem is that I wish there was some sort of map of Internment. I liked the city, don't get me wrong, but I did have a hard time picturing the city. It has apartments, schools, a theater, and even a forest. I don't even know how BIG Internment is. Descriptions will only get you so far. Sometimes it's nice to have a map. There is a lot of potential for having a city in the sky.


I really liked Perfect Ruin! I wished I had read it earlier than having to wait this long to read it. It's a book I definitely recommend. Check it out from your library or get the paperback. Paperbacks are cheap, after all.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Anushka.
298 reviews314 followers
July 18, 2015
I read a YA fantasy after a gap of about a year, I guess and of course it had to be Lauren deStefano. Her Chemical Garden series left a such a deep mark on me that I will come back to read anything she writes in the future.

Perfect Ruin is a decent book and I don't consider my time being wasted, so that's a good thing. The writing is just as I expected, detailed descriptions and a narration full of splendour. All the characters, not just the lead, follow the same course and are superbly developed. The main character, Morgan reminds a little bit of Rhine from Chemical Garden but that is certainly not a bad thing because I simply adore Rhine for her various qualities.

A very prominent aspect of this book is the amount of conjuncture the supporting characters go through and you cannot really dislike any of them. Everyone has a purpose, their own story which fits around perfectly and Lex was my instant favourite.
There were moments which hinted at a love triangle about to happen, but I guess we'd have to read the sequels to find out. We're safe for now.(Phew!)
But I don't like the idea that Pen & Morgan, both find their true love in the guys they were betrothed to, I mean, one of them has got to break the rules to make the concept work. (I'm probably saying this because Basil is CLINGY and it gets on my nerves. He's not charming enough for me, I'm sorry.)

Perfect Ruin reaches its peak mid-way and I was astounded by how the story swiveled around but then it reaches a shaky ground which turned into a very dull plot twist. But DeStefano's marvelous writing and way of handling situations saves the book and the end result is quite satisfying.

Looking forward to the sequel. :)
Profile Image for Pam Pho.
Author 12 books327 followers
December 4, 2013
I loved DeStefano's first trilogy and I was ready to devour the second one. I don't know what I'll do until I have the second book in my hands.

The characters were many but I felt they were all fleshed out and had their own quirks that made them each interesting. If DeStefano is a master at anything it is characterizations and world building. I want to talk more about the world but I don't want to spoil you.

It's a wonderful book!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,924 reviews69.3k followers
November 13, 2013
Believe me, you will have lots of questions when you close the book. If you go into the story knowing this, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I'm still thinking about the story days later, so I think it deserves at least 4 stars. And while it might not be for everyone, I enjoyed it.

The book focuses on Morgan and her journey, rather than on giving you answers about the world she lives in. The world building for the city of Internment felt complete, but the reason for Internment to exist is a total mystery. The people believe that when the earth started going to hell in a hand basket, the gods took a hunk of the planet and flung it into space. So Internment basically floats above the earth like a big rock with no communication from below. There's a force field (that the gods supposedly created) surrounding it, and it keeps anyone from throwing themselves overboard, so to speak. You just kind of bounce right back if you jump. Not many people do this though, because while you do bounce back, you come back fucked up somehow. For example, Morgan's brother tried it, and now he's blind.

The city of Internment actually sounds pretty awesome. I kept thinking I'd found the fatal flaw in their system, only to be slapped upside the head and told that it wasn't.
When Morgan mentions that everyone is assigned someone at birth to be their betrothed, I thought that was the problem. Except it wasn't. Everyone seems genuinely in love with their other half. Do the folks in charge of that sort of thing have a special way of knowing who is your perfect match?
This is one of the many unanswered questions I mentioned.
Then when Morgan talks about how everyone is basically recycled when they can no longer be useful to society, I thought that was when the city would begin to look horribly evil.
Ehhhh. Not really.
You work (in a job you pick) until you get too old, then you go live in some sort of a retirement home called a dodder house until you're 75, then you get recycled.
Yeah, ok. I don't want anyone picking out the date of my death, but at the same time it's not exactly a super-evil time span, you know? You're guaranteed 75 years with the love of your life, doing a job you enjoy, and you get a retirement package to boot! Oh, and there's no crime.
But I guess that's the point. Lots of things look good on paper, but the reality isn't quite as awesome.

Everything starts to unravel for Morgan when a girl about her age is found murdered on the train tracks. That sort of thing just doesn't happen, after all.
Once she starts to open her eyes and question things, she finds out that not everything is what it seems. Even the people she loves most.

The ending is fairly crazy. I don't want to spoil too much, but I will tell you it involves a giant mechanical bird, a wanted murder, and a crazy-ass princess.
And, yes. There's a cliffhanger ending...
Profile Image for Elmer.
100 reviews
December 8, 2013

Lauren DeStefano is consistently a four-star author; even though she’s my favorite author, I have to rate her fairly. Where all her novels in The Chemical Garden Trilogy meandered, Perfect Ruin actually has a focused plot.


Lauren DeStefano is known for her beautiful prose. However, I feel Perfect Ruin isn’t as beautifully written as her Chemical Garden Trilogy, though beautifully written nonetheless.


Morgan is a bland protagonist, and her betrothed, Basil, is even blander. Pen, Lex, Thomas, and even Princess Celeste are much more interesting to read about.

Daphne Leander’s essay “Tangible Gods” is brilliant. This is where Lauren’s writing truly shines.


The plot has its logical hiccups, which is typical for a Lauren DeStefano novel. However, Perfect Ruin does have a clear storyline.


The reason I WISH to rate Perfect Ruin five stars are its themes. I suspect Lauren DeStefano is atheist, and the way she presents the questioning of the sky god and religion is absolutely amazing. It’s done in an elegant but powerful manner. If not for the hiccups in characterization and plot and minor writing issues, Perfect Ruin would have been a five-star novel.


From the moment she started posting excerpts from #SuperSecretStory I knew I wanted to read it. Lauren's prose alone is worth reading and, from the blurb, I can't wait to see where she takes this story.

PERFECT RUIN'S cover is PERFECT I love it more than Wither's.

descriptionLauren DeStefano
Profile Image for Emily.
234 reviews12 followers
May 7, 2018
2.5 ⭐️⭐️✨

Ich bin mir nicht sicher, was ich von diesem Buch halten soll. Es hat ein sehr großes Potential und startet auch gut, aber dann wird es irgendwie etwas emotionslos und nichtssagend. Es war letzten Endes nichts Halbes und nichts Ganzes. Aber dennoch ganz unterhaltsam und der Schreibstil war auch gut.
Ich weiß nicht, ob ich weiterlesen werde. Das kommt auf die Meinungen zu den Folgebänden an.
Rezension folgt!
EDIT: meine Rezension hier https://stopfisbuecherwelten.wordpres...
Profile Image for Hannah.
228 reviews38 followers
January 9, 2014
I feel like this book is hard to give a synopsis of without going off on a huge tangent so I'll try to sum it up as best I can. Basically Perfect Ruin is sort of a dystopian set on a city called Internment which floats in the sky above Earth. The people of Internment have never been to earth and we don't know exactly why or how this floating city came to be, but the citizens have their own religion and beliefs about it. Some people try to jump off Internment to the Earth below but the winds always send them back, damaged physically and mentally. These people are seen as sort of outcasts who want to leave the city for bigger things, when in reality the people of Internment know nothing about what the Earth is like. Our main character is a teenage girl named Morgan Stockhour. A lot of the book focuses on how controlling and restrictive this society is. There's a King, they have betrothed partners who are hand picked even before birth, there's a queue for couples who want to have children and if you get pregnant when it's not planned they force you to get an abortion. Everyone is killed when they are 75 years old, they say it's because by then your useful years are over and you need to make room for more children. It's super messed up.

I don't think I can go into too much detail about the plot aside from that without giving too much away. Basically things start going wrong on Internment, people are getting murdered which basically never happens and Morgan is convinced the boy accused of murdering his betrothed is innocent. Like most dystopians you later learn that there is a rebellion of sorts who have been trying to leave Internment and go back down the ground. Through a bunch of insane events Morgan gets roped into this rebellion. It's a fun story with a lot of cool mythology almost, because these people have essentially created their own religion based on the idea that this sky god put them there. Like a lot of first books in series some might think this book was a bit slow to get going and I guess I cant say they would be wrong but I didn't find myself struggling to get through it, I actually liked learning about Morgan's world, her friends and her family. It might have taken a little while for the action to pick up but I was never bored with the story. I'm definitely intrigued to see what happens in book 2. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes dystopians, I think it's a new, interesting take on the genre. Now I'm going to get into spoilery stuffs so bye bye if you don't want to get spoiled.

May 2, 2019
Dieses Buch hat lange bei mir gesubt und nachdem ich es befreit und gelesen habe, war ich leider enttäuscht. Denn es hat meine Erwartungen einfach nicht erfüllt. Die Charaktere haben mich wirklich genervt.
3 Sterne
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,923 reviews1,262 followers
August 5, 2015

I’m not sure what prompted me to grab a book so obviously in the dystopian YA camp. I guess it’s that bad habit of reading widely—I mean, it’s great in the sense that I discover books I love I might not have read otherwise. But it means I tend to read a lot of books that I find mediocre even when I know others are going to love them. It’s one thing to rip into a book that is legitimately terrible and another to lob half-hearted critiques at a book I don’t actually feel passion for, one way or the other.

Perfect Ruin is perfect in that regard: Lauren DeStefano shows us the intriguing floating city of Internment, whose citizens are beloved of the sky god but can never jump off the Edge. If you do, you get ricocheted back up by the winds that surround the city, and if you survive, you are broken, mentally and physically.

Morgan’s brother jumped, and now his family lives with the consequences. Morgan just wants to get through school and marry her government-arranged betrothed and, you know, get on with life. But all these pesky murders get in the way. As public order unravels in Internment, Morgan starts to question the very basis on which her society operates.

In other words, your standard “teenager starts to reflect on the organization of her society, discovers it’s a dystopia, and decides Something Must Be Done.” Points for making that Something a jailbreak rather than a revolution. Unfortunately, Morgan spends most of the book out of the loop of most of the interesting stuff. Right around the climax—which kind of came out of left field—we get a huge infodump once Morgan has the curtain pulled back for her. Just once I’d love for the main character to know about all this terrible stuff at the beginning.

The stakes, too, are extremely low, then they’re suddenly life-or-death high. For most of the book, the question seems to be, “How will this affect Morgan’s utterly normal life?” before it suddenly becomes “the powerful people want Morgan dead!” Don’t get me wrong: I love the twist and subsequent high-stakes plotting. I just wish I had the opportunity to read more of that.

I’m also calling shenanigans on the cliffhanger ending. Although it’s an appropriate place to leave off in the narrative, I suppose, I’m just disappointed because I would love to find out what happense next … but not so much I’m actually going to read the sequel. Just not that invested.

The characters offer little for me to care about. Morgan is a nice enough girl, and I like her friend Pen, and I guess Thomas and Judas are all right. But Morgan just never shines for me. And while Basil’s unwavering support for her is a refreshing change from jealous and manipulative fiancés, I just wish he had more depth to him. Pretty much the only secondary characters with more than one dimension are Pen (who proves she has a mind of her own when she isn’t immediately on the whole “let’s escape” bandwagon) and Morgan’s brother and sister-in-law.

Similarly, Internment is pretty “meh” as far as dystopian worlds go. I’m not going to bother critiquing the way DeStefano explains how it gets power or controls its population size or whatever. I’ll even pretend that DeStefano doesn’t carry the baggage of Lois Lowry’s over-simplified approach to naming things (“decision-makers” anyone?). Let’s assume the logistics of Internment make sense in this world. Aside from its different-from-us policies about social conformity, let’s examine its dystopian nature, and specifically, it’s name.

Internment implies imprisonment, albeit on a grander scale—Britain used to “intern” people in Australia, because its empire was so far-flung it literally gave zero fucks about colonizing a continent with criminals. So were the original inhabitants of Internment prisoners, or exiles from Earth? If so … why?

I don’t care how your prison floats in the sky, but it must be expensive. Unless the universal constant of gravitation has altered, you can’t just suspend a chunk of rock and dirt and people in mid-air without spending some serious juice, not to mention using some serious technology. That is a lot of work to go to if you’re going to store prisoners there. Internment should be a resort spa.

And maybe it was. Maybe Internment was actually some kind of refuge for the privileged during the apocalyptic global war. Then, somehow, they forgot all that and called it Internment and made up their sky-god religion. I guess stranger things could happen.

If the second book explains any of this, then I’d welcome anyone who has read it to spoil it for me in the comments. (Please use spoiler tags, though, for the benefit of people who do want to continue with this series!)

DeStefano is a capable writer on the micro-level (i.e., sentences and paragraphs). On the macro-level, Perfect Ruin could have used another editing pass to condense some scenes and fix what I see as a weird transition between two plot states. None of my complaints about the pacing, plotting, or even the dystopian nature of Internment actually ruin the experience of the book.

But here’s the thing: I read more than a hundred books a year. It’s not just that I can handle a dud every now and then; statistically, I expect several duds at the very least. I know most people just don’t devote the time to reading that I do—they manage, what, 10 books? 20? If you’re reading 10 or 20 books a year, even if most of them are dystopian YA, you probably want to prioritize and read the best 20 books you possibly can. I just don’t see Perfect Ruin making that list. It’s OK, I guess, but there are better ways to spend your precious reading time.

Shame. It has such a pretty cover.

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Profile Image for Serap.
692 reviews72 followers
February 27, 2019
3,5 tan 4...çok iyi değil ama sevdim...karakterler 15-16 yaşında...hafif yormayan sıkmayan akıcı bir distopya...
Profile Image for Julie.
139 reviews17 followers
April 26, 2019
Nichts an diesem Buch weckt in mir den Wunsch, weiter zu lesen. Super blasse Charaktere, langweilige Handlung, durchschnittlicher Schreibstil.
Das Konzept der schwebenden Stadt finde ich immer noch interessant, aber die Umsetzung kann mich leider gar nicht überzeugen.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,759 followers
July 19, 2014
Such mixed feelings.

I enjoyed the characters, story, and world of Perfect Ruin, but the pacing was awful.

From the start we know that the main character Morgan has an interest in the Ground, in knowing what lies beyond her world of Internment, and all thoughts like this are strictly forbidden. Her inquisitive nature is compelling while at the same time being the book's biggest flaw. It became very repetitive to me as a reader, having these questions from page one. This caused the story to lose all suspense. I think that if Morgan had started out as a loyal member of Internment and then over the course of events had her perspective flipped upside down and started to question what is outside, then maybe it would have been more gripping. Even when the action did pick up, we still got a lot of repetitive description.

To its credit, the world building was nice. It didn't drag on and on trying to set up the world. I thought it was pretty rich in imagery and I enjoyed learning about the daily life of people in this city in the sky. But I just felt like when any big event would happen we'd get 100 pages of the same scenes and questions playing out.

I did like how things ended enough to want to continue the story, but I really hope more happens in the next book.
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