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Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Spoiler Free)

Monday, June 19, 2017


June 19th, 2017

“Aleksander," I whispered. A boy's name, given up. Almost forgotten.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Ruin and Rising

I am sad to say...I was disappointed. 

I am so mad! I loved Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, but Ruin and Rising, the third and final novel of the Grisha Trilogy fell short for me. The synopsis for book 3 is as followed:

FROM GOODREADS: 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.


The first two novels were fast paced and full of adventure and plot twists. I found book three to be very predictable, especially the ending and I had to force myself to finish it. Don't get me wrong, there were some incredible parts that I loved, but when it comes to a conclusion of a trilogy, it could have been better. 

The main objective for book 3 is for Alina to find the third amplifier in order to defeat the Darkling. There were a lot of, in my opinion, unnecessary roadblocks during the journey to find it and even though the revelations about Morozova's amplifiers was unexpected, it didn't really provide the shock factor. 

When it comes to the characters, I was a bit happier. To some extent. I thought Alina was great in book 3 as well as some of the other Grisha like Zoya, Tamar, Tolya, etc. I didn't like Nikolai's story in book 3 and I still cannot bring myself to like Mal. However, I think a lot of the characters developed nicely and were really the backbone of the story. We saw different sides of each and even though I didn't like what Bardugo did with Nikolai, I thought it was smart because it showed his resilience and a new side to the Clever Fox. 

The Darkling, for me, was the most important character. And obviously you would think that is because he is the main reason Alina has to become this hero and everything, but there was so much more to him in book 3. You get a bit more backstory and the relationship he forms with Alina not only showcases him as a diverse character, but Alina as well. I was content with his storyline in book 3. 

Something I really enjoyed about Ruin and Rising was the camaraderie that is expressed throughout the cast of characters. In the end it didn't matter if you were Grisha or Otkazat'sya (non-Grisha), there was one battle to fight and together they stood against the darkness. Even if some of them were following one another for the wrong reasons, they were united and I think that is a great message that spans over all three novels. 

I thought the book was well-written and I can see that the ending was the way it had to end. I still found it to be a bit cliche and personally, I was disappointed in who was with who in the end and I still have more questions. There was just this big ramp up to an event that was supposed to crack a hole in reality basically and then afterwards it's all okay? I would have preferred it differently, but hey, that's just my opinion. I think Bardugo is a brilliant writer and I HAVE read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom which are set 2 years afterwards so I am aware that certain characters are okay etc.

Overall I give this book 3/5 stars, but will continue to read her novels and I really hope she writes more in the Grishaverse! I will say this again and again NIKOLAI LANTSOV DESERVES HIS OWN TRILOGY. He deserves all the happiness in the world, guys! If you've read his character then I hope you agree! The Grisha Trilogy is still a great series and should be read, I just have a lot of mixed reviews. 

Did you like The Grisha Trilogy? Let me know!

Happy Reading!

- Haley

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