Review: Ruin of Stars - Linsey Miller

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller
Series: Mask of Shadows #2

My rating: {★★★☆☆}

YA Fantasy
Expected publication: August 28th 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Source: ARC received from Sourcebooks via Edelweiss
As Opal, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and most importantly the ability to hunt the lords who killed their family. But Sal has to figure out who the culprits are before putting them down. Which means trying to ignore the fact that Elise is being kept a virtual prisoner, and that the queen may have ulterior motives.

And the tales coming out of north are baffling. Talk of dark spirits, missing children, and magic abound. As Sal heads north toward their ruined homeland and the lords who destroyed everything, they learn secrets and truths that can't be ignored.

** I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes were taken from the advanced readers copy and as such may not be accurate or present in the final version**

“Mercy’s dead,” I whispered. “... You killed mercy, but vengeance remains.”
I desperately wanted to love this book because Mask of Shadows was one of my favourites from 2017. It wasn't perfect by any means, but these books carry such an important and relevant message that I just wanted to fall in love and be able to fangirl about them to anyone and everyone.

Ruin of Stars picks up not long after Mask of Shadows and there is very little recapping, so this duology really does need to be read together. Thankfully I did a reread before I picked this one up so I was well placed in the world.

As in Mask of Shadows, Ruin of Stars is just as violent and murderous, and I appreciate that Miller doesn't shy away from this, Sal is an assassin after all, and an assassin with a vendetta at that. Sal is also suffering with PTSD and I did like the rep that I saw and how this was dealt with although I have to admit that I don't know very much about the correctness of it.

Ruin of Stars has a lot less familiar tropes now that Sal is part of the Queen's Left Hand and there is a lot more detail both in the layout of the world and of it's politics which I appreciated however there was also a lot more anguish and hostility from Sal and other characters

I have to admit that I missed the urgency and flow of the competition from the first book. This was more about Sal carrying out the revenge that they sought for their country and their family and it raised a lot of questions like if murder makes you a bad person even if you are doing it for the best reasons and how do you remain true to yourself and even retain yourself while committing such acts. It was also about Sal justifying why they were a part of the Queen's Left Hand of assassins.

I was Opal for this—to bear the weight of death so they didn’t have to.
My major issue was that the transitions in the book seemed so abrupt and I would often find myself confused and having to reread passages to try and muddle through things which is never a good thing when you're 'in the zone' of reading. I felt like it also impacted the way that I connected to certain characters and incidents and there were a few scenes that I thought should have hit me in the feels but I was too disconnected to really feel it that way I wanted to. I wanted to rage and weep and despair but instead I was muddled and indifferent.

This half of the duology had more diversity and more representation (racial, sexual and cultural) but unfortunately some of it seemed a little forced compared to Mask of Shadows where it was just so organic. Nevertheless it is necessary to have this sort of representation and I liked what Miller was trying to do here.

Ruin of Stars wasn't what I wanted it to be, but there's still a good story here. I am hoping that some of these transitions and passages might be cleaned up by the final print and I would recommend this one for readers who crave diversity (especially in sexuality) and enjoy an entertaining (albeit dark) read.

Mask of Shadows - (Mask of Shadows #1)

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