Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: Perfect Ruin

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles)
by Lauren DeStefano

Another in a long line of YA uptopia/dystopia, Morgan is a young girl living on a floating island with her family and friends. A highly controlled place where gender is pre-determined, birth rates are controlled, people are paired at birth, retire at 60 and are killed at 75, it's a safe, clean place, ruled over by a benevolent king and the royal family. TVs exist only in the apartment lobbies for special announcements from the king and most travel is on foot, or by bike, or by the trains that continuously circle the outer edge of the island on a two-hour loop. The island has different sections for different activities (farming, mining, commerce, residential) and four academies where the students are educated. Each chapter is started with a quote from a paper written by a students you actually don't meet in the book.

The inhabitants of the island don't know much about the earth below them. They have fashioned scopes to try to see the ground below, but they don't provide enough detail for the scientists to really understand. They're pretty sure their island was once a part of the ground below, but it's a history that's been lost from time (or erased). Instead, they survive on their relatively modern floating island, powered by solar and surrounded by clouds. A strong wind buffets the edge and residents who have dared get too close to the edge are irrevocably injured.

A murder occurs, the first in decades and this is the catalyst for the focus of our young subject to really question the world around her. What had been a nagging thought in the back of her head is thrust to the front as she realizes the tidy world with all of its pat answers isn't enough. She wants... more.

While slightly uneven, I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting tale and I wanted to know more. And while a bit heavy-handed, I liked the character's observation of an increased visible police presence actually making her feel less safe and that the eventual diminished presence was quite obvious and the questions that we've faced in real life in similar recent situations. The book ends with a lot of questions unanswered and I was relieved to find out that it was the first in a series because I, too, want... more. (The audiobook narrator made no reference to the series at the end and the other books aren't available as audiobooks so I wasn't sure before I did a little more research.)
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