I absolutely loved this! I don’t know what else to say about what Ms. Accardo did with the first book in her new series, The Eternal Balance. Ruined is one part urban fantasy, one part paranormal romance, and all parts written in the age group (or genre) new adult. Love, love, love, LOVE, love, huge amounts of affection, love this book! And even despite some formulaic plots devices, there were enough twists and turmoil to the story to keep me engaged to the very end. Strong characters never hurt, either :)
Told in dual POV (my fave), we first meet Jax, one half of identical twins raised by their uncle but who are also direct descendants of Cain. As in Cain and Abel. As in Cain, the first murderer because he killed his brother and lived with a mark on his soul after that. That mark is so heavy and burdensome that it has carried on for generations through Cain’s line. It doesn’t show up every generation but unfortunately for Jax, it decided to show up on his soul.
This mark made Jax a complex and actually a very endearing character. I personally loved where Ms. Accardo went with Jax and his “inner turmoil” between being good and being evil. Jax is hot (duh), fiercely loyal, and protective. Oh, and he wears a dark leather trench which is just, um…. yeah, I kind of like that (I’m so easy sometimes). Unfortunately, it reminded me of a series I’ve read in the past so that kept popping into my brain as I read. But Ms. Accardo DEFINITELY made Jax’s story her (and his) own.
But before I get to the world building, I must tell you about Samantha. She was the perfect “foil”, err love interest for Jax. I loved that we have a wild child with issues. Growing up, she and Jax were always getting in trouble and it wasn’t Jax dragging her into trouble. Apparently Samantha stole a cop or sheriff’s car when she was a teenager and never got caught. Gotta love that!
NOW to the world building… I really loved what Ms. Accardo did with the Cain and Abel story. I really thought I knew what was going to happen and that I had everything figured out – I get cocky sometimes when I read, think I know everything (ha!). Yes, I guessed a twist or two but the reveals at the very end I never saw coming. Oh, there is one character that was such an awesome surprise; I can’t say anymore!!! I ate that tasty humble pie up and it was tasty (mmmm). Actually, I liked that I was getting things right and still surprised at the end.
You’re probably thinking, “why isn’t this a 5 star review, crazy lady?” I think it was my personal frustration with not getting more character development from a particular character. I know it’s an author’s prerogative to decide what we need to know; hell, they’re writing the book. But I just wanted to know more! There are also some “things” written into the plot (I have no other way to say that!) that I’m not a fan of and I find formulaic and used too often for tension and to keep the reader interested. Personal UGH! You may not mind it but I do. Yes, I’m being cryptic but if I told what it was, then I’d be giving away the story and I don’t particularly want to get shot (as in shoot the messenger… I hate to explain my jokes). :)
But a 4 star review still means I LOVED it and I WILL be continuing this series. There was just too much greatness going for this series for me to be turned off! And the ending… yeah, I’ll definitely be coming back for more Jax and Sammy (I loved that Jax called her that).
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