Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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.

I buddy read this amazing book with the equally amazing chicas, Amy and Di
. I’m delighted to say all three of us LOVED this epic finale! You can read their reviews here
and here.

↞ Review of Shadow and Bone (Book 1)
(There are spoilers for book 1 and 2 in this review. Spoilers for book 3 have been clearly marked so.)

Holy mother of character development. Can we all take a moment to applaud the freaking wonderful character development of every single character in this book and there are like some 50 characters in all. Leigh Bardugo is Queen. No contest. While I’d liked Alina throughout, this is the book where I really loved her. She makes mistakes and comes up with terrible ideas but she seemed so human in this book. I loved her visits to the Darkling for it showed the darker side of her personality; I loved her interactions with Nikolai for they showed her humorous and sarcastic side; I loved her interactions with her girl squad and this was the best because they have different feelings for each other.

And how can I not talk about Nikolai? If you’d read my tribute to Nikolai
review of Siege and Storm, you probably know I am unhealthily obsessed with the Lantsov Prince. He has the most interesting character arc of them all. Quite an arc that had me going through so many emotions with my feelings all over the place. I wish I could say more but that would be spoilery!

“Saints, Alina. I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”
Okay so I wasn’t quite happy with who Alina ended up with. Mal. I did ship them at the beginning of the series but my feelings are so conflicted right now. Neither the Darkling nor Mal deserve Alina. Mal may love her but Mal only wanted the ‘common’ Alina, the one without the powers; the simple orphan girl. The Darkling had feelings for Alina in his own twisted way but he only wanted the ‘Sun Summoner’ Alina. Both of them only loved particular facets of Alina but not the whole picture. Now tell me, who loved the multifaceted Alina? Nikolai. He loved all parts of her. Unlike Mal who moped about Alina being Grisha, Nikolai cherished and appreciated her. Hell he even recognized and cared for her when he wasn’t even human. Alina had to become powerless and “simple” again to end up with Mal which I’m not so happy about. I still strongly believe Nikolai would have been the healthier choice.

Plot twists here, plot twists there, plot twists EVERYWHERE. I definitely didn’t see most of them coming. I didn’t see them until they hit me smack in the face. Some twists quite literally killed me and I was left screaming into the void. Some twists had me whooping and grinning like an idiot. Basically it’s a book with a HUGE plot twist which is made up of smaller plot twists which in turn are … I think you get the point. Only Queen Bardugo can write such a complex plot without it confusing us. I loved every second of the plot though there was little think towards the climax that felt a bit predictable? But overall, an EPIC finale.

Bring on the amazing dialogues. So much humor, sass and emotions in every sentence. It’s no news that I love Bardugo’s writing but this was a whole new level! I can foresee many future rereads just so I can take in the beautiful writing!

“Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside of you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.”

“I can think of a few more interesting ways to spend one’s time.”
“Is that supposed to be innuendo?”
“What a filthy mind you have. I was referring to puzzles and the perusal of edifying texts.”
- The character development
- The plot
- The writing
- Nikolai

- The thing about the romance I mentioned in the spoiler section

An epic finale to a wonderfully written trilogy. This is going to be one of my all time favorite series with every book being a 5-star read!

View all my reviews