The world created in Ruined was really interesting. I liked how certain people could ride shadows and they'd instantly be where they needed to be.I was jealous every time Jessa and Vale got to travel that way! I also liked how it was explained that there were different realms, and how Jessa and Vale's ancestors came into this Realm from the Mortal one because they didn't like how battle hungry the anglo saxons were that attacked the area of where they lived. After arriving in this realm, they sealed off the way to get back to the mortal realm. The ancestors felt that is was just too dangerous and didn't want those pesky mortals accidentally finding there way through to this realm.
The people in this realm have lived in peace, but all is not calm. The current King, Zander disappears and is presumed dead. There are those who believe that some in the court are involved with his murder, and so when Vale, the Kings brother becomes King he has a lot to deal with and isn't happy about it. He'd much rather leave the ruling to others. However, he does his duty and takes over as King. He has a small problem on his hands-his senior healer, Jessa. She's the most powerful healer of her generation, but everyone thinks she was his brothers mistress-including him. He's attracted to her, and that along with the fact he can't get past the fact she slept with his brother bothers him...so he dismisses her from court.
Jessa is upset that she got fired because she's good at what she does, and despite the rumors did not have an affair with the king-they were just friends. She hates the fact that everyone thinks she did, but can't get it through to people that they really were just friends, because the old king had so few of them. I loved this part of the story. The tension between Vale and Jessa made me shiver. I also really liked seeing Vale struggle through his emotions..he's so tortured. He knows that firing Jessa isn't a smart move, but does anyway and feels guilty about it...the scenes between Jessa and Vale are wonderful. The fighting attraction between them just worked well, and didn't bother me like it normally does.
What did bother me was that when the two finally got together it was because Vale gave her a gift...I know that the gift was meant to show that he was sorry for being such a jerk to her, etc., but it bothered me a bit that she was like "I love you" after that because of how she had stood up to him before that point. However, I managed to get over that pretty easily mainly because the dynamics between the two were great. The biggest problem I had with Ruined was with the villains. I was so into the romance part of the book that I didn't want to spend any time with the bad guys. I think it would have helped if they hadn't been revealed so early on in the book. I just wanted to shake Vale and Jessa for not being able to figure out who they were sooner. However, I think that a large part of my problem with this point of the book is because I don't read a lot of fantasies, and am used to the entire story being about the hero/heroine.
Despite the problems I had with the villains, it was able to hold my attention for the entire book, and that's rare with this genre. I'm glad I took a chance on this book. :)