Book Reviews

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. The Grisha, #3.

My copy: Henry Holt and Company, June 2014. Hardcover, 417 pages.

Source: Library.


Read my review of Shadow and Bone, book #1, here.

Read my review of Siege and Storm, book #2, here.


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.

As the third and final book in The Grisha Trilogy, I went into Ruin and Rising with expectations. I had heard a variety of opinions on the conclusion to this fantasy series by Leigh Bardugo. After enjoying the first two books (which each had their pros and cons), I was hoping for a pretty epic ending. I can’t really say much about the plot due to potential spoilers, but, while this book was definitely a good wrap-up, it was almost too action-packed after the relatively uninteresting beginning, and it was very predictable. So predictable that I had figured out one of the biggest plot twists back in Book #2, Siege and Storm. This doesn’t mean Ruin and Rising isn’t enjoyable; it is. I whizzed through it wanting to know what happened next and cared about many of the characters. It’s not all that I wanted, but Bardugo did a good job with Ruin and Rising.

Alina, hailed as a Saint by the people of Ravka, is not my favorite heroine. I have never really cared about her at all. She is severely overshadowed by other characters like Nikolai, Zoya (yes, finally, Zoya gets to do things in this book!), Genya, Baghra, and the Darkling. I think I liked Mal best in Ruin and Rising compared to the other books, though I wasn’t in love with him, just Alina. Nikolai didn’t have as much to do as he did in the last book; I missed him a lot because he’s honestly the funniest character. Zoya’s sarcasm got a little old after a while, but she did some impressive things–like fly their freaking ship across the country with her Grisha powers. Baghra really grew on me and I wish she could have told more old legends. The story she told about Morozova was really fascinating and heartbreaking. And then the Darkling. I love the Darkling. He was really humanized as well as made to seem the most ruthless villain. He is the most layered, mysterious character in the entire series, and I wish there had been even more time to know him better. I think I’ve said that about him in every one of my reviews of the books in this trilogy.

I wasn’t blown away by this book. I wasn’t disappointed exactly, but there were a number of things I think could have been done differently. Leigh Bardugo’s writing and plot improved immensely as the series went on, most notably in Siege and Storm, where her growth as a writer really stood out. I think the world she created is very unique and interesting, but could have been touched upon much, much more. (Plus–MAP. By Keith Thompson.) I do recommend this series, but don’t expect this last book to push boundaries or ideas. It wraps things up and gives Alina the happy ending she always wanted. Which may not be the most exciting for us as readers. ♦

Have you read Ruin and Rising?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
Comment below letting me know!

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