Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Ruin and Rising

Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 17th 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 422 pages
Rating: 5 Cows

Goodreads Description: 

 The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

            It’s a rarity for me to be so surprised throughout a book series, especially given the fact that many YA books tend to follow the same pattern of thinking.  With Ruin and Rising though, none of these rules apply.  Everything I thought I knew, or had figured out, in Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, played out differently than I ever would have expected.  I should also add that despite my ship not working out (I can’t say who without ruining it for you), I wasn’t too upset by the outcome of the love interests at the end of the book.  Leigh Bardugo brings up what she refers to as “The Gotcha Badge” in her interview with her editor at the end of Ruin and Rising.  Well got me you did Bardugo! The shock factor alone was enough to make me appreciate every aspect of the final book in the Grisha Series, right down to each violent and horrifying death.  If you thought the Darkling was bad in books 1 and 2 of this series, think again.  He’s stepped up his game to a whole new level in Ruin and Rising and is willing to do whatever it takes to get back his Sun Summoner. 
            One of my favorite things about Ruin and Rising (and the Grisha series overall) was that there’s no TRUE villain or hero.  Sure, the Darkling is certainly ruthless and power hungry, whereas Alina is depicted as the beacon of hope for the people of Ravka, but both of them have their faults.  I think many readers saw the Darkling as the villain and Alina as the hero, but I think circumstances played a big role in that.  The Darkling has had to deal with his thirst for power for hundreds of years, whereas the Alina we see presented in the series has just come into her powers.  I think the Darkling just had a hard time remembering the boy he used to be, and I thought Bardugo did a great job of writing his story and giving the reader a chance to feel some compassion for this character. At least I certainly did! The inclusion of Bahvra in the text was crucial to understanding the boy the Darkling used to be though, before his power became a tool of destruction.  She knew her son wasn’t the only Grisha who could turn his/her power into a terrible thing, and she warns Alina on more than one occasion about the greed that can come with more of the amplifiers if she’s not careful.
            While I can see where some people were distraught by how the book ended, I thought Ruin and Rising was an exceptionally fitting way to finish off the series.  Like Bardugo mentions in the interview at the end, “The rules don’t apply differently to Alina just because she’s the hero of this story or because her cause seems just.” I loved that because I thought it was more realistic this way.  After all, heroes are usually the ones who have to suffer the most, and even though Alina has already been through a lot, she did break the rules on more than one occasion.  Although I’ll likely be crying over the ending for a few days to come (I may have gotten too attached to a few of the characters) I thought Ruin and Rising was splendid and I wish there was more! Lucky for us, the Grisha World is not over and we have Six of Crows and the rest of that series to be thankful for! 




  1. That's great that the trilogy finished off well for you, especially since the final book seems to get mixed reviews. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I am definitely reading that trilogy this year!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    1. Thanks Tanya! I will say I was rooting for one of the love interests over the other and the ending didn't finish with the couple I had in mind but it was a pretty good conclusion! i can see why many people were annoyed with it though!
      Thanks for checking out my review as always! I can't wait till you read this trilogy! i really enjoyed Six of Crows as well!

  2. I'm glad you like the ending! For me it worked out pretty well, but my ship sink. Boo. I love how Leigh Bardugo always ends the book with poetic words, it makes the ending more beautiful.

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress


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