Ruin of Stars is the release I’ve been most excited for this year. I first read Mask of Shadows last November and was utterly taken with it. If you missed my reread review of that, check it out here.
Note: This review will contain spoilers for Mask of Shadows, which precedes Ruin of Stars in the series.
If Mask of Shadows was about fighting for a better life, Ruin of Stars is about war. The realities of living in war, and the ripping effects of wars decades after they’ve ended.
This books picks up a short time after Mask of Shadows ended. After being confronted by Sal, Elise’s father kidnapped his daughter and fled north. In doing so he ignited a war.
Sal has recovered from their injuries after being thrown from a window, and is now continuing their hunt for the nobles responsible for the massacre of their people. This task luckily falls in line with their orders from the Queen, as those responsible are all now on the other side of the war.
Sal’s role as Opal is one that takes them back and forth across the border regularly. They travel to and from court one mission at a time, trying to both identify the people on their list and find out why the enemy commander is having children kidnapped and brought north. As they bring information back and forth to the Queen, Sal is left with periods of almost normal life in between. I really enjoyed the periodic pauses in the ‘action’ when Sal found themselves back in the capital. It was a wonderful change from the constant action & travel of other stories. And it was an insightful view into the political side of war; the endless meetings and planning that goes into every action taken by soldiers at the front.
As Sal uncovers more of the enemies plans, they also uncover some life changing and unsettling truths about the previous war. Not only do these revelations change the way Sal thinks about the war and the history of their people, but it is also a great demonstration of the fickleness of history. It’s a well known saying that history is written by the victors. In Ruin of Stars Miller spins this on it’s head. History is not only written by the victors, in Ruin of Stars or in real life. History is written by those in power. Those on both sides of a conflict can impact how the story is told, given the right amount of influence.
And finally, there’s Sal’s relationship with Elise. Even though Elise was kidnapped and is being kept (partially against her will) on the other side of the war, Sal still finds themselves drawn to her side. But war isn’t as simple as black and white, good and evil. Elise has her own choices to make, and some of them put her at odds with Sal’s mission. As much as I love romance and happy endings, I really enjoyed the conflict and struggle that Miller infused Sal and Elise’s relationship with.
Overall, I found Ruin of Stars to be the perfect follow up to Mask of Shadows. I can’t say I loved it more, but I can say that I loved it equally and for different reasons. Miller managed to take the fledgling world she created in Mask of Shadows and expand it out to epic scale, infusing detail into every moment that makes the world feel even more real.
I absolutely cannot wait to read whatever Linsey Miller writes next.
PS – I’m #TeamMaud
Find this book on: Goodreads