Essay

Ruthless

Ruthless is the most stressful, disturbing, never-wracking and visceral experience I've had with any book in a while. I desperately wanted to keep reading, but at the same time, I stayed away from it for hours at a time because of the powerful impact it had on me. Deeply engrossing, brutal and terrifyingly realistic, Ruthless is a fantastically written story of survival and, simultaneously, a short, fascinating study of both the good and the bad parts of human nature.

When I picked this up, I ha

Ruthless is the most stressful, disturbing, never-wracking and visceral experience I've had with any book in a while. I desperately wanted to keep reading, but at the same time, I stayed away from it for hours at a time because of the powerful impact it had on me. Deeply engrossing, brutal and terrifyingly realistic, Ruthless is a fantastically written story of survival and, simultaneously, a short, fascinating study of both the good and the bad parts of human nature. When I picked this up, I had no idea this story would be this intense, that it would leave me this stressed and tense and on edge. I expected the typical lukewarm YA thriller, the one with exaggerated and unrealistic odds but still manageable enough for a generic heroine to handle with almost superhuman abilities and unrealistic feats of human strength. Ruthless was nothing like that. In fact, the story actively worked against the main character. With every step and rounded corner, she was mercilessly ambushed by the story, brought down with terrifying brutality. That's what makes this novel so great, because it's all about Ruth as a character. Her tenacity, her strength, her spirit. Adams gave us a magnificent heroine, one that actually deserves to be called a heroine, one the kept fighting, kept struggling and never had anything handed to her by the grace of the story or the author. What's particularly interesting about Ruth is that, in spite of being one of the strongest heroines I've read about in quite a while, she is nowhere near perfect. She is not unbreakable and definitely she doesn't breeze through this book and the horrible situation she's been placed in. She fights every step of the way with tooth and nails, she never gives up, but she is not left unaffected by this. Her psychological unraveling under the weight of the events that take place in the story is fascinating and extremely well-written. Adams managed to write a book where, the more vulnerable and raw the heroine is, the stronger and tougher she gets. Ruth was so

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riveting a character and a fascinating heroine to follow. She is flawed and so thoroughly human, she was one of the most compelling aspects of an already compelling story. She was a utterly believable young woman, a realistic heroine all the way through. Half surviving being hunted, half wilderness survival, Ruthless takes place within the span of two or three days and never once loses it breakneck speed. This is a very graphic and disturbing read, one that doesn't shy away from the horrors of the situation, though it is toned down somewhat. One of my favorite things about the novel is how, using a dual narrative of flashbacks in between the narration of the actual story, it provided a fascinating overview of the two main characters in the novel, the way both of them bordered most of their lives between good and bad choices and how that shaped them into the persons they were today. It laid out the stage beautifully for the situation they found themselves in, the choices they made and the way they acted in it. There were some religious undertones in the narrative that turned me off a tad from the narration and there was a rather careless use of the word slut at the beginning of the novel that, though I see its need in that moment, still left a sour taste in my mouth, but these are pretty much all the concrete complaints I have of the novel. This book is about human resilience and courage, and it did a fantastic job portraying the good parts of humanity while still allowing for the darkest, more sinister parts of it to show as well, and not only through the antagonist. I particularly loved the climax, the way it all comes down to a close and the impact it had on Ruth. I adored that the novel never tried to make an unrealistic leap from normal teenage girl to invincible avenger out of nowhere, that instead it allowed itself to take a more realistic and strangely powerful turn. I also loved that the novel made a point of showcasing how internalized misogyny can insidiously grow into something truly terrifying and how the careless way in which some people talk about women affects the way women are perceived and treated.

An engaging, well-written, fascinating and disturbing read, Ruthless was more than a pleasant surprise for me. This is a fantastic thriller and survival story, a deeply engrossing study of humanity and probably one of the best YA thrillers I've read in quite a while.

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