Book Review: Ruin and Rising

Posted July 11, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 0 Comments

Book Review: Ruin and RisingRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #3
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on June 17th 2014
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 417
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

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 can’t believe this series is over. 

This quickly became a book series that helped set my standards for reading expectations.

I noticed that I have rated all three books as 4 stars, across the board.  I know this sounds horrible, but OH how these books always hurt me! It was always the pain that kept me just one step away from calling it all perfect. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love this series any less.

It isn’t fitting to talk about the last book without touching base on the previous books.  It is a fitting send off to talk about the whole arc.

In Shadow and Bone, I loved getting thrown down into a gritty, yet highly fascinating fantasy world.  The culture, mirroring some Russian qualities, helped settle the series as one of my top picks when I recommend high fantasies to others.  I could actually relate with Alina, who struck a perfect balance of meek yet alive with hidden potential. I loved reading about Genya and her snarky, yet caring, personality.  Of course, my heart broke during the BIG REVEAL.  It stung, and it stabbed me deep in my bleeding heart. The stag scene left me shredded for days.

When Siege and Storm finally hitI could hardly contain my excitement to step right back into the thick of the adventure.  Coming off of Shadow and Bone, I was licking my wounds over the betrayal of one of the most exciting men to hit the book scene. Luckily for the entire book world, Strumhond seeped into the story and helped me heal from the last cardiac murder.

Things got heavier in S&S. The plot became darker (I didn’t think it was possible, but it did), the characters starting putting their own souls on the line, and Alina slowly began to unravel and let the somber situation really start to sink in.

Before I delve in any further, it is vital to talk about romance when it comes to the Grisha series.  It is a strong factor in the entire series.  Romance isn’t a requirement for my own personal taste. I do, however, enjoy the romantic angle of each book in the trilogy.  Alina isn’t the only sole source of romantic tension.  There is more than just the lead character’s amorous adventures.  Siege and Storm raised the stakes, and threw another swoon-worthy interest into the mix. I often rally against romance, but Bardugo is a master at her craft, and the romance actually added something special to the arc.

Now for the final act.

Ruin and Rising comes along, and delivers a lovely end to an outstanding piece of work.  There is a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to the closure of the series.  For better or worse, this book has become a hot topic.

I was unsure where this book was going after the ending of the previous installment.  The plot moves along at a fast pace, so it was very easy to fall back into the world building.  The writing was still up to par, with the action and the emotions blended together in a seamless fashion.

I always love a rag-tag team as the last stand.  It is dramatic, and it works very well for me.  So watching the last hold-out against the forces of evil was the right touch for the last part.

The biggest waves were caused with the romance.  However, I don’t want to step into this territory, since it would spoil the book for others. So I’ll avoid THAT.  There is a huge joke on the inside about introducing a melt-worthy male option in the third book.  The formula seemed to match the previous books.  I brushed it off, but after I read it, I turned my thoughts back to this joke.  We never said anything about a notable male for Alina.  David, the Grisha from the start of the series, is the dark horse of Eligible and Hot Bardugo studs.  Sure, he almost seems outclassed by his other contenders, but I fell in love with him.  His words and his actions were enough to make me feel like melted chocolate.  Poor overlooked David, the secret Grisha hottie.

The humor was top notch.  Bardugo always had a subtle, dry wit in her writing, and it offered the perfect release from the tension of a do-or-die situation.  Every character adds their own charm to the flavor of the plot, and characters I never cared for in the previous books actually wormed their way right into my heart.

 

Conclusion

 

I am going to sorely miss this series.  There was some incredible world-building, and I honestly hope this is not the last that we see of this fantasy universe. I don’t know if this is less of a review and more like some rambling, but I feel a little bit broken, and a little bit better off, for picking up the set.

lyn

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