[Review] Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising
(The Grisha #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication: June 17th, 2014 by Henry Holt and Company
Page count: 417 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Fantasy

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 have been putting off reading Ruin and Rising for a while and well… you know that unbelievably high expectations that comes with series conclusion. One of my favorite series, actually. And to top it off, I haven’t been the most diligent reader for the most of 2014. I often lose interest upon cracking open a book and I was scared that it would happen to this book. I was scared that I ended up disliking it because of the condition I had been in.

This morning I was thinking “oh screw it” as I viciously tore open the plastic covering this pretty baby. I had enough of waiting and since I’ve successfully finished 2 books in this week, it was going to be the same this time.

Boy, how glad I am right now because Ruin and Rising turned out to be a perfection. I could not ask for more. The whole time, I had zero complaints and I usually don’t have zero complaints. I just don’t. But reading this book, I could simply enjoy every page and savor every moment. The characters I was in love with in the previous installments — Leigh Bardugo made me fall more deeply in love with them. As for the characters I wasn’t too fond of? She even made me care about them. I could feel their pain and struggle. I laughed along with their silly jokes and teasing. I ached for each of their happiness, despite knowing that not all of them were going to survive this war. When some of them died, my heart broke to million pieces.

“I am ruination.”

But seriously though, every single one of them was lovable. Alina’s character has developed for the better. She isn’t the same girl, unsure about her power. She is now much more determined to kill the Darkling and is not afraid to taunt him. Yes, taunt the evil old Darkling.

You know my infatuation with Sturmhond and even though he doesn’t appear much in this installment, his lines always seem to make me giggle or put a smile on my face. His smart mouth surely isn’t the only thing that makes him charming for me. His charisma and good leadership, his ability to administer justice fairly to everyone (royals or servants alike), his desire to make Ravka a better country and his optimism to find a way out no matter how improbable it is… Ehem, seems like I’ve gone a little too far and I could go on and on about him but the point is – he will be a great king and I’m looking forward to his ruling. Possibly in Bardugo’s other series set in the same universe The Dregs? (Please please can he appear even in one page?)

And Genya – definitely a tough lady considering all the things she had to go through. I liked that she has accepted and embraced her condition. Btw, I really ship her with David!! Oh, the socially awkward yet kind-hearted David. I was practically swooning over his speech to Genya about how strong she is!! <3 And Zoya. Gosh, I never would have imagined how I would be so attached to her. But her snarky remarks and complaints grew on me. See? Leigh Bardugo is remarkably skilled at writing likable characters. Whether old friends or new allies – they are all equally developed you can’t help but to sympathize with them. Tolya and Tamar… Nadia and Adrik… Even the quirky Harshaw who keeps talking to his cat… I just loved them all so much, so much that mentioning them is the least I can do.

Not only Zoya that grew on me, but Mal as well. I remember that he was never particularly stood out to me in the previous books. I even thought he was annoyingly insecure to the point that I started rolling my eyes whenever he appeared. But he is different in Ruin and Rising. More confident and this time he knows his purpose – what he is supposed to do and what sacrifices he has to make.

The entire journey is purely satisfying and extremely captivating. The plot moves at the right pace. I didn’t feel bored, even for once and the surprising twists had my heart churned. I certainly didn’t expect the story to go into the direction it eventually takes. But although it isn’t the conclusion that I initially desired before reading this book, I thought Ruin and Rising definitely ends in a seamlessly fitting way.

6 thoughts on “[Review] Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. Ugh, totally with you. I was in a book slump when I read Ruin & Rising too (still am, actually D:), but the book still managed to blow all my expectations to dust. So YAAAASSS, SO HAPPY YOU GAVE THIS FIVE STARS TOO. I just couldn’t ask for more from Leigh because this book was absolutely perfect. I’m sad that such an epic series has come to an end, though!

    Okay, so I didn’t cry because I’m heartless, but I DID tear up when the Darkling did you-know-what to my beloved Nikolai. For a second there I thought the worst had happened and I was so ready to cry my heart out for him, but THANKFULLY EVERYTHING WAS FINE IN THE END. Seriously, though, Leigh is BRUTAL with her characters. Like with Genya. Oh my gosh. Even though she’s a really minor character, it was just so easy to sympathize with her.

    I’m glad you grew to like Mal, too! He and Alina have officially become the ultimate ship for me in the trilogy. Then again, I do ship Alina with Sturmhond and the Darkling. Gahh, it’s so easy to ship her with everyone. Definitely can’t wait for The Dregs now. I’m hoping we get to see some of the old characters in that book, as well! 😀

    Fab review, Kezia! <3 (Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! A bit late, but I hope you had a great one!)

    1. Don’t worry, I didn’t cry either! I have a heart cold as ice LOL.

      IKR THAT WAS A PAINFUL SCENE TO READ D; Nikolai is my favorite character so I was really sad over what happened to him. Glad that everything is back to normal in the end *phew* Oh yeahhh, Genya is one tough girl! I really admire her strength and it’s good that she has David with her.

      OMG I thought I was the only one that ended up shipping her with everyone! xD The tension with the Darkling in the first book was just asdfgjfkfjg *fawns self* and Alina together with Nikolai gave me tons of laugh. Their banters were HILARIOUS!!!

      Merry Christmas too, Meg! And happy new year <3

  2. Shadow and Bone was one of my favourites books for 2013, but then when I got the copy for the sequel I couldn’t remember anything…I ended up disliking the second book because of my old memory…it was kinda unfair for the book.

    And I was also expecting that the Darkling would never end up with the leading character hehe I am so in love with the Darkling *Fans self*


    1. Ahh, I’m sorry to hear that 🙁 it was my fear before I started this book so I definitely understand how you felt.

      IKR UGH the Darkling is so ohmygawd. I love his scenes with Aline in Shadow and Bone <33

  3. I’m so glad the ending to this went really well Kezia, it sounds like all of the characters got fantastic development and you got the ending you craved int he end. I’ve only read the 1st book so far, so I’ve had to skim the middle part of your review, but I’m really looking forward to it after everyone’s praises. Lovely review!

    1. Omg sorry if my review is too spoilery for your taste, Jeann! I will try to mention the storyline as little as possible next time 🙁 Yep, I’m looking forward for your thoughts! This is a brilliant trilogy, I’m kinda sad it’s over but at least we will get Leigh’s other series this year 😀

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