Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Me on Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.
Perfect Ruin is rather mysterious, the story moving slowly and almost effortlessly towards the ending. There doesn't seem to be any rush, because you'll get there in the end. This book certainly does question the utopian ideal, shows how imperfect is it, how certain freedoms are given while others are taken away, and how they don't stop the pain and suffering. How they keep those who want to jump off the edge tethered to the ground.
At the beginning, Morgan doesn't appear to have any agency. She's a daydreamer, living the life everyone else in Internment is living. She can be whatever she wants to be, she can live with purpose or without, but she must stay away from the edge. But she's a daydreamer, and so she dreams of what it's like to be on the ground, of who lives on the ground. There is nothing for her to react differently to, until someone is murdered. Until she starts noticing that secrets abound up high in the sky. Until she must decide.
Internment appears, on the surface, to be a utopian society. Everyone is in control of their own lives, they can choose to do whatever they want, but so many things are left unspoken. To live this peaceful life in a perfect society, everyone must follow the same rules, be governed by the same king. You marry who you're told to marry. You have children once enough people have died. Utopias are built on control. Once every aspect of society is under control, and once some freedoms are allowed, the population will obey. Of course, there are those willing to speak out, those who want to jump and discover what's below. They will be disposed of discreetly to keep the population from getting too riled up.
Isolated from the world below, Morgan wonders what else there is. Who lives on the ground, what happens on the ground. She would no longer be isolated up in the clouds dreaming of what's beyond the edge.
I found this to be reminiscent of the author's previous series. One girl trying to understand the world around her. One girl breaking the rules in order to discover the truth. One girl arranged to marry a boy who loves her. The book does progress slowly, so slowly it's as if nothing is happening, but it follows Morgan's gradual shift from being just another resident of Interment to someone who questions what is happening and why. As interested as I am in the next two books of this trilogy, I'm hoping the pacing will pick up in the next book.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)