Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Ruined

RUINED
The Eternal Balance #1
Jus Accardo
Paranormal New Adult
325 pages
Entangled Embrace
Available Now
Source: e-ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely… And it's killing him.

After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past—and a guy—she's been trying to forget.

Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone—or, something—followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.


MY THOUGHTS
Ruined is a darkly captivating story, the characters’ demons – both literal and figurative – presented to us in various lights so we can see all their shades of gray, no pure white or solid black in sight despite the myriad of evil connotations the word demon initially brings forth. The history of Jax’s demonic possession and the presence of demons in our world is explained fairly simply and easily, no hugely complex backstory, keeping the focus on the characters themselves while giving us just enough information to feel as though we have our feet solidly on the ground. It does take a little time for some of our questions about Jax and his demonic counterpart to be answered given we’re immediately thrust into danger and heartbreak with him and Sam, but it's not too long before Ms. Accardo satisfies our curiosity, thus ensuring this story sinks its claws into us and doesn’t let go.

Thanks to the alternating perspective of both Jax and Sam, we get to know the two of them inside and out, sharing in their emotional turmoil as their painful past is resurrected and the depth of their hurt increased tenfold. Jax blows hot and cold in the beginning chapters, something that might seriously irritate us if not for the benefit of his point of view; a point of view that allows us to bear witness to the self-flagellation that follows each and every callous word aimed with unerring precision at the soft tissues of Sam’s heart. His reasons for wanting to stay away from Sam are both numerous and valid, the standard “I’m doing this for your own good” excuse taken to an entirely new level when we come to understand just how much of a struggle it is for Jax to assert any dominance over the demon within. One of the more interesting aspects of this story is how we come to know Jax’s demon, its presence in the beginning something we despise as he does for the pain it causes him and Sam, but as the story progresses the two of them become as inextricably linked emotionally for us as they are physically in Jax, and we find ourselves desperately wanting things to end well for them while fearing true happiness is forever from their shared grasp.

Aside from the gift of Jax’s point of view, Sam is the main reason Jax’s cruelty doesn’t have us shaking the book in the hope he’ll somehow magically feel our displeasure at his behavior. Though his words undoubtedly cut deep and she returns fire in self-defense, she’s quick to catch on to the reason why he lashes out, and once she understands that the hurtful game he’s playing has only losers and no winners, she stands her ground. She refuses to be cowed by his impressive bluster and his deliberate poking of her sore spots, instead assuming the role of his rock: immovable and always there for him to lean on when the exhaustion of his existence finally brings him to his knees. Once her decision is made early on, she never wavers, taking the truly terrifying things that are tossed her way as they come and simply bracing herself for the next impact.

The romance between the two of them (or three of them since Jax’s demon cannot be discounted), is one certainly categorized by a lot of push and pull as the reasons they cannot be together are legion, but instead of the angst and melodrama that usually accompanies such a relationship there is only raw emotion and the painful realization of just how high the odds against them are stacked. We’re left with a resolution to one of the main conflicts in place, but it’s also very clear that innumerable hurdles remain firmly in place, barring Jax and Sam’s path to happily every after with tooth, claw, and Tainted soul.

Rating: 4/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

32 comments:

  1. Oh I really loved this book!!! It was dark and edgy and definitely borderline on many occasions. But.. it was greatly written and with Sam and Jax as amazing main characters.
    Push and Pull is most definitely the best way to describe it :)

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    1. Normally push/pull drives me crazy, but since we got Jax's POV in this one, I thought it worked. I completely understood why he pushed her away:)

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  2. I really did like how different this one was and the ending was a bit of a cliffie, although not quite but I definitely can't wait to see what happens next with all three of them!

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    1. YES! I liked everything about this one Ali:)

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  3. Paranormal new adult? I'm intrigued on that alone, though it certainly sounds like a good book.

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    1. Right? Something other than contemporary NA! I really enjoyed this one and I can't wait for Sam and Jax to get their happy ending. Hopefully.

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  4. I'm a little burned out on demons (and angels, though it sounds like they're not in the picture here). However, I've heard really good things about this author and need to give it a shot, considering both you AND Danny highly enjoyed it! Plus, cute, tortured boy!

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    1. No angels in sight. At least not in this first book. Jax is oh-so tortured, but I liked that we got to see his relationship with the demon change just as we saw his relationship with Sam change. The demon took on human qualities rather than just being a source of anger and pain for Jax. Loved it:)

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  5. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed this too, Jenny. I loved the history about the demons and although Jax was frustrating I loved him. And yes, Sam was great too.
    Jus is such a creative author!
    Great review, Jenny.

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    1. Yes she is, I've only read Darker Days, but I loved that one too, so I'll definitely be picking up anything she writes!

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  6. I kind of love that the story only partially answered all those plaguing questions because that's the type of ending that will keep me invested in the story. Jax does sound pretty alluring, and a frustrating character can sometimes work so well for me! Wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. Jax can definitely be frustrating, but you understand why he does what he does and it makes sense, even as you wish things were different. Hope you give it a try!

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  7. I haven't read a really good PRN for quite sometime but this one caught my eye at Jax's demon part. What a fascinating character and a horrible curse to have! I'll definitely have to check this one out.

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    1. It is a truly terrible curse, and one Jax in no way deserves. I just loved this one Rummanah!

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  8. WOOT WOOT! Somebody actually gave me this book because they said I must read it :) I think I might like it!

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    1. YAY! I can't wait to see what you think Felicia!

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  9. Beautiful review Jenny and I agree with everything you said especially the romance :)

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    1. I was such a big fan of this one Kim, I'm so ready for more Jax and Sam!

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  10. I haven't had much luck with Accardo's books so far, but you make a very convincing case for this one! It's a good thing Jax's POV is offered because mean, hot-and-cold characters are usually dealbreakers for me. But if I get to understand why he acts like he does, I can probably forgive him for it.
    As usual, this is beautifully written, Jenny. I haz review envy.

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    1. I've only read this one and Darker Days, both of which I really enjoyed. I would have DESPISED Jax if not for his POV, he knows how to make his words hurt for sure. We got to see how much what he says to Sam hurt him as well though, so it made me far more sympathetic.

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  11. I'm so glad to hear that the romance isn't full of angst, but genuine emotion, and that the demon becomes something you actually root for finding happiness alongside Jax. This is the second amazing review of this book I've read, so into my TBR pile it goes! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, can't wait to get to know Jax and Sam. :-)

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    1. I was definitely rooting for his demon in the end. I may have fallen a little in love with him:) Hope you have time to try this one Lauren!

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  12. I haven't heard of this one at all, though it sounds really interesting. I can't say I've come across this premise very often, so I'll have to look into this novel a lot more for sure. Thanks for throwing this on my radar, Jenny! :)

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  13. I am reading some great reviews on this book and I most anxious to check it out for myself. I am happy to hear that you get the main conflict resolved. No big cliffhanger. Sounds like it is pretty nail biting, though!

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  14. I've been wanting to read this author and this really wants to pull me in! I like the sound of it and it seems like a dark book. I love the sound of the characters and I can see why you need Jax's POV. Sometimes you just need to get into a characters head to make you not want to kick his arse off the planet. :) Great review!

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  15. I grabbed this on sale and I'm so excited to read it! I think it sounds unique and like it has some wonderful characters!

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  16. I think I'd be on pins and needles hoping that these two could work things out and be together. I see this is a book one in a series, so I'm assuming things do not wrap up. I think I'd wait until all books are out before I'd pick up this series. The forbidden nature of their romance would make me too uneasy to have a long wait in between books. Wonderful review, Jenny! :)

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  17. Nick said the same--no just good or just evil, but rather a mix which makes it more intriguing and, also, realistic. I'm a bit tired of dual POVs in NA, but since this is no ordinary NA novel, I'm actually excited about it. I like this girl already and Jax sounds dark and frankly every bit as awesome. You girls sold me on this. I really have no issues other than time right now or I would start this right away. Gorgeous review, Jenny! :)

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  18. Action packed new adult paranormal with a good blend of romance and adventure. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a steamy paranormal read.

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  19. SWEET! I have heard nothing but good things about this story. I'm going to check it out.

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  20. I'm so glad to see a review of this from you. I was curious about it since I saw Jennifer Armentrout raving about it, but I didn't have a good sense about what it is about. I like the sound of this heroine who stands her ground and becomes a rock when she discovers what is happening to Jax. And poor guy! I'm glad the author gave us a good reason for his hot and cold behavior. Does the fact that two beings reside inside of him feel like a triangle? Is that something I should worry about with this series? Interesting concept. Though I will definitely wait for more to proceed, since it sounds like it has a cliffy.

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