Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Perfect Ruin has been on my “to-read” list for months, now, and even after I bought it, it sat on my Kindle, unread, for a long time. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to it, but I finally had a break in my schedule long enough to choose my own reading adventure, and Perfect Ruin seemed exactly right.


I don’t really know how, exactly, to describe the mood and tone DeStefano creates in this book. Perfect Ruin is set on a sort of island in the sky–the mythology is that a portion of the earth has been lifted up into the heavens as a punishment, and the people there are interned on the floating space, where their generations of people have lived and died for ages. They have a small city and a train, and some technology, and the ability to see, faintly, the world below, but they can’t get to it–there’s a barrier that keeps them on Internment. Some people have tried to jump, and they are left irreparably damaged in one way or another.

Morgan, our protagonist, lives on Internment with her parents. Her father is a policeman (a fairly quiet job in a quiet city) and her brother, Lex, lives upstairs with his wife. Lex, though, is blind, having tried to jump a while back. We learn more about that as the book progresses. Life is fairly quiet and measured on Internment, until Daphne Leander is found, murdered, on the train tracks. Then all hell basically breaks loose, and Morgan’s life is turned completely upside down.

This book is so unlike anything I’ve read in a long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed both the plot and the deep relationships DeStefano portrays between Morgan and her friends and family members. These characters will stay with me for a long time, which is always a good omen for a series beginner. The world, itself, is something fascinating–it reminds me a bit of The City of Ember, only flipped upside down, I suppose. But it has its own strangeness. I was particularly fascinated by the bits of Daphne’s manifesto–clearly, a great deal of background writing went into creating Daphne’s character and psyche, as so much of our view of Internment rests upon the bits and pieces of her that are revealed to us through her writing. I think it reveals a new level of maturity in DeStefano’s writing, and I was entirely impressed.

I initially gave Perfect Ruin 4 stars, but the more I think about it, the more I love it. I’d go back and read it again right now. 4.5 stars, at least, and clean as a whistle.

4.5 Stars

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