Review: Avenged by Amy Tintera

Series: Ruined #2

avenged -amy tinteraIn the sequel to Ruined, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

4 Drink Me Potions

**Avenged comes out May 2, 2017**

Thank you HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this copy in exchange for an honest review

Avenged continues with the level of action and intrigue that its predecessor already set. Smart, emotional with touches of romance, this sequel was no disappointment.

Picking up a little bit after where we last left off in Ruined – might I add what a cliffhanger that was, Em and Cas are separated and dealing with different difficulties. Cas’ main story arc is trying to find support as even though he’s king, his sympathies for the Ruined weren’t well received amongst his council. On top of that, his cousin Jovita is vying for his position, and it looked like she actually stood a chance. Meanwhile, Em’s with her vengeful sister Olivia and their friend Aren, trying to stop the Ruined army her sister is creating to fight against Cas’ people to destroy his kingdom.

Things are looking pretty dire for the two of them. The pacing in the plot sometimes lagged a bit in my opinion, and it also sucked that they were separated a lot of the times from each other. It was a lot nicer when they were in each other’s presence more, like in the first novel, but I guess we can’t all be choosers, now can we? The moments when they were together and had a chance for privacy were amazing. I didn’t want those moments to end. It reminded me so much of their slow burn attraction for each other, against all the odds stacked against them. But of course, they always ended too fast. At least while they lasted, it got a little steamy.

I liked that there was never any true love triangle forming in this story. By “true”, I meant that Cas and Em’s feelings were always for the other and never strayed to another (phew!). But another potential suitor who wanted to marry Em popped into this book (did NOT like him) and for a moment, I thought Cas may turn bad and look at another girl just ’cause he and Em fought. Thankfully, nothing ever really happens and feelings did not go astray, I repeat, did NOT go astray. So I’m very much thankful for that.

Emotions also flew rampant in my mind as certain characters – ahem, Olivia – drove me absolutely nuts. We got a chance to see how bloodthirsty this girl was before, but that was her just getting started. She has an addiction to bloodlust and torture. Sure, she was tortured herself and wants revenge on the people who ordered that on her, but she kills innocents. INNOCENTS! Only because she can and she needs to sate her bloodthirstiness. What was worse was trying to tempt Aren into her bloodlust as he’s almost as equally powerful in Ruined magic as she was. I’m absolutely tired of her thought process, which by the way, we get a firsthand look at since she has her own POVs. I hope she dies. I hope she gets defeated by Em somehow.

If you were rooting for another ship, well it’s started sailing a little between Aren and a friendly warrior from another kingdom. The warriors and their roles in this simmering war between Cas and Em’s kingdoms are fleshed out more in this book, and you can feel the tension increasing as kingdoms prepare for war.

Although I liked this sequel, Avenged suffered a bit from Middle Book Syndrome. Things that happen here are important and essential for the plot to progress into the conclusion, but sometimes it felt like I was always waiting for more to happen. I hope the concluding book would be absolutely amazing, but for now, I appreciate the little bits that Tintera gave me with this novel. Nonetheless, the ending was another cliffhanger (though not as much of one as the previous novel) that only leaves me more eager for the last book to come out…in a year.

Overall Recommendation:
Avenged was action-packed with tidbits of romance as our familiar protagonists find their kingdoms at odds after the events of the previous book. Em and Cas are still as wonderful as I remember, and their little romantic interludes together were so sweet (and hot). I wished there were more, but this book really sets the stage for the tense conclusion with war potentially looming in the distance. Other familiar, but newer characters, were developed here and occasionally I wanted to strangle one or two, but all’s good in the end. Although it hits the Middle Book Syndrome a little harder than I had hoped, this sequel is still very much worthwhile to read for fans of Ruined.

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