Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles, #1)

First Lines: We live encapsulated by the trains.  They go around in a perfect oval at all hours, stopping for thirty-five seconds in each section so the commuters are able to board and depart.  Beyond the tracks, after the fence, there’s sky.  Engineers crafted a scope so that we can see the ground below us.

It’s actually kind of funny how I stumbled upon this book.  On Friday of last week, I found it in a bookstore.  It looked pretty cool, but I didn’t really want to buy it.  Then on Saturday, I found it in the library.  By then, I thought it was a sign that I should get it.  I haven’t been keeping up with Lauren DeStefano since I fell behind in the Chemical Gardens series.

The Internment is a floating island in the sky.  This is where Morgan Stockhour lives, where everyone she knows has ever lived.  But getting too close to the edge of island can lead to madness.  Morgan should know.  Her brother Lex is a jumper, someone who tried to escape Internment.  Morgan doesn’t want to end up like him, even though she has the same thoughts about the ground that lead him to jump.  Thankfully, she has her best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil, to keep her centered.  Then the murder happens.  It’s the first in a generation, and it destroys the calm of the city.  With fear as common as air, Morgan begins investigated.  When she meets the accused murderer, Judas, she becomes convinced of his innocence.  Nothing on Internment is quite what it seems…

I admit that I was a little leery about this book when I saw that my library had categorized it as science fiction.  I didn’t know what it was going to bring, and I shy away from true sci-fi.  However, I think this should be categorized somewhere closer to dystopian than sci-fi.  Yes, they are kind of the same thing, but it’s without the heavy science lingo that comes with time and space travel.

I quickly found myself liking the characters.  Each one is distinct in their own way.  Morgan is somewhat passive because it helps her blend in, but she’s strong when she’s pushed.  Pen, her best friend, is contrary and vulnerable.  It’s an interesting mix.  I really liked Basil, who is the true sweetheart I have been searching for in books as of late.  There are way more characters than this, though, but saying more could be spoiling things.  And even the minor characters have a distinct personality.  I really appreciated that.

I thought the world of the Internment was well-presented.  There’s time to get accustomed to it before the murder happens and turns things upside down.  It’s easier to see the panic and the fear when you have that baseline.

Mainly, the reason I liked this so much was that it surprised me.  I really didn’t know what I was getting with this book.  But whenever I tried to predict what would happen, I would be wrong.  I thought with the murder, it was going to be a mystery to find out who really did it.  It wasn’t.  When I thought a certain plot twist was coming because it happens in nearly every book, it didn’t.  I didn’t see a lot of these twists coming, and that was fun.

I have read a couple of negative reviews that complain that this plot (which I really can’t share for spoiler reasons) is a lot like every other dystopian novel.  And that’s more or less true, if you generalize it.  But that can be said about every book.  If you generalize a romance enough, it ends up looking like Romeo and Juliet.  Mystery novels will inevitably end up looking like those of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot.  It’s kind of the mark of a genre.  Also, they complained about certain plot holes.  It’s true that there are parts that aren’t explained, but this is from Morgan’s perspective.  She doesn’t know the answers anyway, so how could she explain things like why the island is floating in the sky?

I just had to address that.

So overall, I thought this was a very fun and unpredictable read that dealt with characters I immediately connected with and liked.  In fact, I think I may reread a few of my favorite parts after I post this.

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