Avenged: Ruined, Book 2

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Avenged:  Ruined, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Sequel balances political intrigue, fast action, romance.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Seeking revenge just continues a circle of violence against one another. The only thing that can break the circle is forgiving. Kindness that you show to others comes back around to you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Em's strengths are her optimism, her ability to find creative solutions to problems, the way she inspires others to do what's right, and her capacity for forgiveness. Olivia is a warrior who thinks instilling fear is the easiest and best way to earn loyalty and respect; she also wants revenge above all else and thinks some things are unforgivable. At first Cas is a weak leader and runs away when things get tough, but he realizes that he'll have to fight for what he wants most and finds the strength to lead and to take what's rightfully his. Aren is brave and loyal but prefers action over kindness; he learns it's very easy to take things too far.

Violence

Fantasy violence includes battles and skirmishes with one kingdom able to use magic to tear bodies apart. Killing is frequently done using magic to snap necks, and a few times to rip out hearts. The same ability is also used to torture. Fighting also involves swords, arrows, and cannons. Blood spurts, sprays, and pools but isn't described in any other detail. Pain and injuries are briefly described with little to no gore. Large-scale destruction with massive casualties. Innocent people are killed. Kidnapping. Fighting with punches, kicks, swords running through. Frequent threats of violence, and characters are often in peril.

Sex

Infrequent kissing, cuddling, caressing, and making out in opposite-sex couples. A woman fully naked in bed embraces a shirtless man. Herbs that prevent pregnancy mentioned. Consummating marriage mentioned a few times. Lots of talk about possible political marriages. This society has no taboos about homosexuality.

Language

"Butt" used once.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A couple of medicinal herbs mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Avenged, by Amy Tintera (Reboot ), is the second of a planned trilogy that began with Ruined. The action picks up immediately after where the first book left off. It's not necessary to read the first one in order to follow along, but it will add to your understanding of the characters and their motives if you do. Battles and small skirmishes have fantasy violence with one tribe's magical abilities to physically manipulate bodies, which is used a lot to snap people's necks and sometimes to pull out their hearts. There's large-scale destruction, massive casualties including non-soldier bystanders. Blood spurts and sprays, but isn't described in any more detail. Occasional kissing, cuddling, and light making out among opposite-sex couples described very briefly; a couple in bed together undressing and embracing while nude; and matter-of-fact attitudes toward same-sex couples.

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What's the story?

Olivia will be AVENGED at all costs for the destruction and near-extermination of her people at the hands of the neighboring kingdom of Lera. Even with her sister Em's help, uniting the few remaining Ruined and rebuilding their lives won't be easy. It quickly becomes clear to both sisters that they have very different ideas about how to go about it. Em still has feelings for Cas, now the king of Lera, and is sure the two kingdoms can be at peace under his rule. But Olivia will never place her trust in a Leran again. Em's got to try to turn Olivia from her blind need for revenge. If she can't, the kingdom of the Ruined may be destroyed once and for all.

Is it any good?

Without missing a beat, this second installment of a fantasy trilogy keeps the action, drama, and romance going at the same fast pace as the first book in the series. In Avenged, author Amy Tintera continues to easily balance political intrigue, gripping action, and romance so that the pages keep turning. Teens will enjoy rooting for the young protagonists as they try to forge their lives and take on big responsibilities in the aftermath of tragedy. And fantasy fans who like swords, castles, kingdoms, and a hefty dose of powerful magic will eagerly await the next installment after the huge cliffhanger ending.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in fantasy novels like Avenged, and in video games and movies. Does the fantasy element make a difference in how we react to the violence? Why or why not?

  • Did you read the first book in the series? How does this compare? If you didn't, do you think you'd like to go back and read it now?

  • Em says the only thing that made her life better was forgiving Cas. Is it realistic that she could forgive the person who killed her mother? Why or why not?

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