Cover Image: Ruined

Ruined

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publishing Imprint for this Advanced Readers Copy of Ruined by Sarah Vaughn!

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his graphic novel ended up being really sweet and lovely!! I thought the drawing style was soft and calm, and definitely fit the regency era. I thought that some of the dialogue was confusing because of the layout of the text, but overall I enjoyed it. I would have loved to see a few pages at the end because they finally got back together on the literal last page, so it would have been lovely to see them together and happy for a few extra moments!! And also there was a super cute lesbian side relationship, with diverse characters that I absolutely would read a spin off of!

🌈 Queer rep: lesbian side characters/relationship

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Thank you to netgalley for a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a quick regency era read. This is perfect for fans of Bridgerton and Pride and Prejudice. I wish the story could have been developed a little more and I did not feel super attached to the characters. There are some spicy scenes that I should have known were there but was surprised at for a graphic novel. I really wanted to like it more than I did but it just fell a little flat to me. The illustration was okay but did not impress me. Overall, I would still recommend this title.

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Gorgeous art and a beautiful, sweet story. I would love more in this world and wish these characters. A lovely and romantic regency graphic novel.

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This was a nice read. Nothing that will stand out to me past this month, but I didn't hate it.

To be clear (because I definitely didn't know going in), this is an adult graphic novel. Emphasis on the GRAPHIC part. Maybe I should have known since Bridgerton is a comp, but anyway. Now you know.

I love that this was a slow-burn romance. Those are my faves and it fit the context of this book really well.

There were a few side plots, but they didn't really grab me. Honestly, I found myself skimming them so I could get back to the main couple, Andrew and Catherine. I loved the diversity they featured and the extra happily ever afters we got along the way, but I didn't care all that much about them.

It was a bit too short to really get into the nitty-gritty of the relationship. I feel like a few more pages, a few more chapters and we could have seen them develop better as individuals and as a couple. Their love wasn't completely abrupt, but I still wanted more from Catherine and Andrew in order to completely believe their love story.

Overall, 3.5 stars for this graphic novel. A little longer and more fleshed out and I think I could have loved it.

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A marriage of convenience with some stunning and spicy art? Yes please! This steamy graphic novel is perfect for lovers of Bridgerton. The transitions from scene to scene was disjointed at times but overall I loved the chemistry between the characters.

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DNF this one. I didn’t enjoy the dialogue between the characters and the plot felt very disjointed. There were moments where I felt like I’d missed a page or two because of how quickly (and randomly) it switched.

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I loved the Bridgerton-eque love story between Andrew and Catherine, but I was also incredibly touched by the emotional growth/healing of everyone in Davener House after all the tragedy they’ve faced. The unexpected queer representation was also such an exciting bonus!!! I honestly had so much fun reading this.

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As an avid reader of historical romance, I was super excited to see a graphic novel in this genre, as I had never read one before. I though this was a really cute and sweet (yet slightly steamy!) read. I liked the romance between the two main characters, although I do wish the backstory was a bit more fleshed out. I would have also liked to know more about some of the main side characters. Still, the art style was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a really fun read!

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Ruined is a graphic novel of a Regency-era romance between a woman who has fallen from society's grace and a man whose reputation and social standing have fallen. Catherine and Andrew marry so they can save themselves, but as the story goes, there might be more to them than meets the eye. Might there even be love between them?

What follows is a little formulaic, and if you like Regency-era stories, you can probably see where the book is going. This is a cozy read though and something you can easily get through in one sitting. I will say this book is not for young readers; there is nudity and sex depicted. While the sex isn't super graphic, it is drawn just as a heads-up.

Thanks to NetGalley and First Second Books for the ARC!

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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.

This graphic novel was awesome.

The love story was great.
The characters were well written.
The artwork was absolutely beautiful.

Will be looking up the author and illustrator for their other works!!!!

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Ruined opens at the wedding of Catherine, a 'ruined' 27-year-old who has sworn off love, and Andrew, just desperate enough for Catherine's sizable dowry to overlook the rumors of her social demise. As such, it explores how two people fall in love after they're already married. I enjoyed the various side plots with Catherine's sister and maid as well as the slow reveal of both Catherine's and Andrew's backstories, but I really loved how the colors and backgrounds contributed to a longing atmosphere. I keep trying to imagine the story in prose and it just doesn't work as well. Each panel held both exactly as little and as much information as it needed to get the point across, how we could see the conflicting emotions play out as the story progressed. While the Brigerton parallels are apt for season one's marriage of convenience, I think the comparison holds true for season two as well—there is just something so delicious about a longing, lustful gaze across a richly tapestried drawing room...

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The pacing of this novel is a little weird. The story starts in the middle. The sprinkle of random characters stories didn’t really need to be mentioned. It was confusing trying to grasp what was going on. The ending felt abrupt. Other than that. It’s a decent quick read if you like a bridgerton & pride and pred style with some spice.

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I really loved the Pride and Prejudice feel of this book! Andrew is broody like Mr. Darcy and Catherine shares similarities to to Liz. She even wears a similar dress to what Liz wore during the scene Liz and Mr. Darcy danced for the first time.

The slow burn of Andrew and Catherine is beautifully delicious and I did not expect the spice level this book was going to have, but I loved it. The way they learn to trust one another felt so organic and I wanted to read more of them.

Which leads to the only real problem I had with the book. While I liked reading about Mary and her story, I felt it was a bit distracting to Andrew and Catherine’s story. It would have been nice if we got hints of her story and then got her full story in a sequel.

As for Lee and her story, it could’ve been taken out all together. There was not enough time in the book for me to feel anything toward her. I didn’t know who she was as a character and I’ve already forgotten the name of the guy she likes.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and would love to get Mary’s sequel.

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Heat Factor: They get nekkid! There is on-page seggs!

Character Chemistry: All the beats were there for a marriage of convenience, but I think there were too many secondary character stories to really make it sing.

Plot: Catherine marries Andrew because no one else will have her; Andrew marries Catherine because he needs her money; they’re definitely not going to have sex until he falls in love with her. Nopity nope nope!

Overall: I am not yet convinced that the graphic novel is the right format to really get that belly-fluttering romance swoon, but I was definitely charmed by this one.

“A graphic novel featuring a historical romance marriage of convenience?” I said to myself as I was scrolling through Netgalley. “I must have it.”

I’m not totally sure how best to organize my thoughts, so I’m going to go with bullet points. Let’s see what happens.

- The art style is clean lines and visually accessible; there wasn’t anything to muddy the reading of the panels. That said, the characters are rounded, and the art style isn’t gritty at all, so it also feels kind of young and innocent. The protagonists are seemingly relatively young people getting married (early to mid twenties, I’d say), so that tracks, but it creates that young and naive vibe in the background of the story.

- This is a very regency marriage of convenience romance. Catherine is “ruined” due to whispers about an affair she had with a complete asshole who was promised to another woman. (Who doesn’t care that he got his rocks off while she was traveling? That was a weird moment.) Andrew, the second son, unexpectedly inherited his family estate that was already ruined by his brother, so he needs Catherine’s money to put things to rights. They both know they’re marrying for business reasons, and that forms a pretty solid basis for their marriage, actually.

- Speaking of their marriage, they are really nice to each other. It was pretty cool. The first sex scene is their wedding night, and Catherine can’t go through with it after all. They have a shockingly even conversation about their pasts, and when Catherine tells Andrew she won’t have sex with a man she doesn’t love, he’s like, “Okay, we’ll just be good spouses to each other, then, and when the house work is done we can pursue our own interests.” That said, Catherine does pull the, “I can’t have sex with a man I don’t even know!” regency heroine card, and Andrew does pull the “I’m just not built for love” regency hero card, so we are well within the genre.

- Though, after all of that sex talk: Catherine, that toolbox of a man? Really? You loved him? He’s the worst. Andrew is such a good friend and partner to her as their marriage goes on that of course she can’t help but fall for him, and of course they fall into bed before any declarations of love have occurred, and of course this causes problems later on.

- Catherine’s sister and her maid also have romantic thread storylines in the book that are sweet but not totally fleshed out, and given the length of the story, I might argue they pull away from Catherine and Andrew’s romance unnecessarily. Graphic novels might be 350 pages, but that’ll read in less than an hour, so even though it’s the same number of pages as a novel, it isn’t actually as long, narratively. Andrew’s sister also has a running storyline that tangentially impacts Catherine and Andrew—her anxiety prevents her from leaving the house—but it does form a part of a sibling conflict. Still, it redirects reader attention, and for what purpose?

- Apparently we’ve gone full Bridgerton with the diverse cast. It was nice to see a lot of racial diversity in the book, because that’s always a good thing to see. That said, it does seem to simply paper over the whole systemic racial inequality thing that we’re still dealing with, so I haven’t totally landed on an opinion about this choice. (And if you think that racial diversity was not a thing in 19th century Britain, maybe just take a minute to do a little research.)

In short, this was a charming regency romance, but most of its novelty exists in its format rather than its storyline, and the focus on some of the side characters didn’t really support the central romance as well as maybe they should have. That said, I’m super excited about an adult romance from First Second—I’ve enjoyed a lot from that publisher—and if you wanted to dip your toe into romance novel graphics, and you like histrom, this is a fun, short read.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report. (November)

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A Bridgertonesque graphic novel is an apt description for this one! I really quite enjoyed the artwork and the plot. I do wish that the characters faces had been more expressive at times, but overall the art complimented the story.

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In many ways, RUINED is a classic Regency marriage-of-convenience story told in graphic novel format. A landholder (Andrew) in dire need of money marries a well-dowered young woman (Catherine) whose reputation has been ruined. Not only are they not in love with each other at the beginning of the novel, they don't even really know each other. But, since this is a romance, you know things will eventually work out as they should . . . though there are some roadbumps along the way.

In other ways, RUINED belongs to the new category of diverse Regencies that Bridgerton popularized. The main characters are white, but there are several people of color in the story, including some with significant subplots. There's also a sapphic couple, a character with an anxiety disorder, and a cute couple who work in the garment industry, thus representing the lower middle classes. In short, it's not just about rich white people falling in love.

Early in the book, I was a little confused about how much the fictional Regency world of RUINED differed from the traditional fictional Regency era, especially because at some points it seemed like there were openly queer characters. As far as I can tell, though, most of the social rules are the same.

Let's talk characters now. Catherine is romantic by nature, and if there's any flaw in her character development, it's that I don't quite understand what made her agree to a marriage of convenience, given how much she values romantic love. The story begins on her wedding day, starting us in media res. We learn a good amount of the back story as the novel unfolds, but I wish we could've seen Catherine and Andrew interacting before the wedding.

Andrew is decribed in the backmatter as a "brooding hunk" and that's pretty accurate, but he is also practical and unromantic to a fault. That said, there are a couple of adorable moments towards the end that reveal that Andrew does indeed have a softy, squishy heart inside. (The flower!!)

Despite being a relatively short novel, the book does an impressive job of telling the stories of other characters, too, not just the main couple. The only subplot that seemed underdeveloped or rushed was the one dealing with Gemma's agoraphobia. But if the creators wanted to write a sequel that dealt with Gemma and her anxiety in more depth, I'd totally read it!

There are a couple of open-door sex scenes, but they are not long nor extremely detailed, so I'd rank the book as only moderately spicy.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of the novel from Netgalley, and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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Ruined is a graphic novel looking to capture the interest of Bridgerton fans. I could see some of those fans being disappointed, but others who are historical romance fans in general will find this appealing. The cover is gorgeous, and the artwork inside works well with the story. The story left me wanting more, which will do well if this ends up getting fleshed out into a larger series.

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I was gifted a ARC of this novel, in exchange for a honest review.

This graphic novel has a strange mixture of charm and spice — and attempts to recreate a ‘Bridgerton’ vibe.

I just wasn’t hooked at all, and at times the graphic novel seemed a bit too… Graphic. There were moments/imagery I did not expect and to be honest, these moments were not needed…

It turned from something that could’ve been very sweet, to something that can only be recommended to a very niche audience.

For these reasons I’m giving this a 2/5. I don’t like to be negative about people’s work, as I know how much time and effort goes into it. But this just didn’t do it for me.

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A cute, but typical period romance about a couple who are wed after each has their own dire sorts. I was a bit blindsided by the steamy parts... I should have looked more into other reviews before requesting the book. (I don't typically read graphic novels with steamy bits.) Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story.

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