A review by btwnprintedpgs
Road to Ruin by Hana Lee

adventurous challenging mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


Five stars. Easy five stars. I feel like Road to Ruin came out of nowhere. I'd heard nothing about this book until this tour and I can't imagine why. A fast-paced, diverse, dystopian fantasy full of magic, monsters, complex relationships, and love, this book is brimming with everything I love about early 2010 dystopian fantasies.

This book was a setup for the bigger series but still had it's own full chaotic plot. We have Jin, the courier, and her sparktalent; Reena, a shieldcaster and a princess trying to escape a sexist and classist city; and Kadrin, the Talentless prince of what was viewed as a refuge for Talentless refugees. I loved all three of them as we get to know them through both the main plot and the letters Reena and Kadrin send each other. Full of action and betrayals, the main plot was a wild ride.

That being said, the setup was no less interesting. I enjoyed hearing about Reena's research into the Talented versus the Talentless, the mana pools, and the overall world building we were given. It all felt so organic and effortless, and there was a wonderful balance between that and the main plot. I loved Screech, too, and how there was a peek into the lore of the world's monsters, which I'm sure we'll explore in the future.

This book also tackles some bigger issues, including race purity, sexism, classism, and environmentalism. Similar to the world building, it's not in your face, but it's also a huge part of what triggers the plot and the exploration of it was really well done.

I will say, if you were a fan of the 2010s dystopian craze, this book will definitely be for you. This gave me that buzzy reader feeling I've been chasing for the last while and I love it! This book isn't even out yet and I'm now anticipating it's sequel!

TW: death, murder, blood, injury detail, blood, violence, alcohol consumption, kidnapping, sexism, classism; mentions death of a parent, incest

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.72/5

eARC and FC gifted via Colored Pages Book Tours by Saga Press via Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

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