Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #3)
Published Henry Holt and Co 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
Things I Liked: This was actually a pretty good conclusion of the series. I didn’t feel like any of the plot holes were left open. All of the characters like Alina, Mal, and the Darkling made SO MUCH character development over the series of three books. I liked Alina’s development the most, plus we get to feel a little bit more sympathy as we learn about the Darkling’s past in this book. It was also consistently action packed – there was always something happening. After reading some series’ conclusions recently that ended with them sitting in a cave waiting for something to happen, I liked how they went out into the world and back on the adventures that had led them in the first two books. The twist on the mythology and overall, just all of the crazy twists, were really great. They added something to the book that it probably would’ve missed without them. The final battle between Alina and the Darkling was well worth everything. Unlike other series, it was well built up to and lasted for a while. That scene was probably my favorite of the entire novel.
Things I Didn’t Like: The Mal/Alina romance. I’ve had some struggles with it from the beginning of the series, however it didn’t get any better in this book. Plus, I’m kind of getting tired of the way the couple’s relationship develops over the trilogies. It always seems like they go through the same relationship steps…Other than that, there was nothing in this book that really made me feel anything. Of course, I was sad to let this series go because I have been reading it for a while, but I didn’t care in the end. I wasn’t – at any point – emotional. I don’t have to cry or swoon or get angry or happy while reading every book, but I wanted this book to emotionally grab me more than it did. Also, it dragged in the middle. I kept waiting for something as they made their way through the wilderness, but for 100-something pages, it just got a little tedious.
Overall, I was pretty split on this book. I thought it was overall a good conclusion to this trilogy, but I wish there was a little bit more emotional attachment involved and the book was faster paced. I’m looking forward to reading Leigh Bardugo’s next series!