Monday, October 28, 2013

REVIEW: Kings of Ruin by Sam Cameron

Kings of Ruin Kings of Ruin by Sam Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun, lively, and exciting. This book was better than I expected, and I admit I expected very little due to my poor luck with the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, and to a string of same-old same-old Young Adult fictions with all the publishers. Is there any Young Adult fiction where saving yourself and the world doesn’t take a backseat to the Romance? Because good grief.

Control, The Waking Dreamer, The Trials of Renegade X, Tandem — desist your Romance shit. Yes, that includes the two of you books that I rated 3-stars, which means I like you. Desist. Y’all are series; you can do it, says the crazy person talking to books. Anyway.

What I Liked

+ the couple

Danny was a sensible main character. It was surprising because bad decisions haunted his past so I fully expected him to repeat them, but he didn’t. It was refreshing because, speaking as an avid reader of Young Adult fictions, I rarely come across Young Adult main characters who are sensible. I mean, holy shit. Finally, it was pleasant because it excused the matter that he was in the closet. Rural America, enough said. I loved how Danny skillfully balanced putting his life at risk to figure out what was going on (because ignorance could kill) and knowing when to back off to stay safe.

Kevin was adorably nice despite the fact that he was working that whole mysterious Bad Boy image. I was elated to see a love interest that was only a Bad Boy in appearance and not an asshole because Bad Boys in Young Adult fictions are usually assholes.

+ the romance

Infidelity is a huge pet peeve for me so when it was a bomb of surprise when I didn’t get angry at how Danny used his unwitting girlfriend to disguise as straight. Danny and Laura’s relationship was too casual for me to take it seriously. Danny was at least honest and guilty about his reason for having a girlfriend, and he treated her nicely if one put aside the using-her thing. Equally important was how respectfully the book treated her. I was very happy with how in the process for the reader to gain sympathy for Danny, Laura was never “bitchified.” Laura was a minor character and her relationship with Danny was very downplayed so it would have been easy for the book to do so. But it didn’t, and I was glad. I was free to be happy without guilt; I could ignore Danny’s relationship with Laura, which allowed me to focus on just Danny and Kevin.

Danny may have been in the closet, but his romance with Kevin wasn’t angsty. It was a little angsty in the beginning but it quickly tapered off because Danny was honest and open about his feelings and sexuality with Kevin. I liked how between the two boys there was no dilly dallying with the attraction and the clearing up of misunderstandings. “I like you but I’m in the closet.” “I like you but you appear to be straight.” Talk, talk, talk. “We now know both of us like each other.” OMG, y’all, kiss already. *squee*

+ Danny’s family and friends

Danny may have family issues but I loved how it was obvious for the reader to see beyond Danny’s biased viewpoint that his family was a loving family. His stepfather was a not jerk, and his stepsister was not a bitch. His mother was someone who did really give a shit about her son. I also like how Danny’s friend Eric was a true friend and was also a sensible person like Danny. The only I would have changed is for Danny’s stepsister to be part of the action because she seemed pretty cool, and it would have been nice to read about step-siblings fighting bad guys.

+ the plot

It was fast-paced. I couldn’t believe how quickly I went through the book. The book fully delivered on its promise of car chases and fiery explosions. I was just “Yaaaaaaay!” Homicidal alien-possessed cars, a secret government agency, a national conspiracy; what fun!

What I Didn’t Like

+ the world building

It was shoddily built. I didn’t mind how the human characters have little idea of what the aliens were, or Ruins as the aliens were called, but I did mind how the human characters poorly explained their theories of what they thought the Ruins were. Because of the book description’s failure to mention aliens, I thought they were evil spirits for the entire beginning. Then I spent the middle of the book being confused to learn that was not the case and annoyed with trying to find out what was the case. Though at the end I got a good grasp of what the Ruins were, I wish it hadn’t happened so late. I didn’t see any good reason to withhold the information considering that some of the story was told in Kevin’s viewpoint and not poor ignorant Danny’s.

What I Was Okay With

+ the ending

It was Happy For Now. The romance was unresolved among a few other things. Usually, I would file such an ending under things I didn’t like but I was okay with it, believe it or not. What helped was how Danny didn’t have to hide who he was anymore and was accepted and his family issues were resolved. The book ended on an optimistic note. I was left in a good place where I didn’t feel the urge to demand a sequel so I can get my closure yet I would be elated to read the sequel if there was one. Either way is good for me, and this rarely happens because I’m a fanatic for closure.


I rate Kings of Ruin 3-stars for I liked it. If you took the movie Transformers, focused it on the humans, and made the main characters two gay boys who have the hots for each other, you would get this book. Recommended for readers looking for a light drama and thriller read.

Goodreads | Amazon

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