This review will contain spoilers for the first two books of this trilogies. Be sure to check out my reviews for them first!
Title: Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Synopsis: 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.
Review + Discussion: Though this was a really good conclusion, but I was still honestly disappointed in this book.
Once again, the writing and the world was amazing. It all flowed really well and I absolutely loved being in this world. What I had a problem with was the pacing, plot and characters. I was just expecting more.
Nikolai was still my favourite character in this novel, I loved him. But I didn’t get to see him as much as I would have liked. He went through so much in this novel and I think he came out much stronger and just a better person in general. He went through so much growth and I’m definitely going to miss him.
I did not like Alina in this novel if I’m being honest. I felt like there just wasn’t much depth to her and I found her to be quite cold and selfish. She was so obsessed with finding the Firebird that she would have been willing to do whatever it took to get it, and I think I mentioned this in my review of Siege and Storm, but I didn’t like that about her. She became quite ruthless and self involved. She was only concerned with herself and how everything was effecting her and not those devoted to her.
I still didn’t like Mal in this book either. He bugged me so much and I just wished he would go away. I did like him the tiniest bit more than I did in the second novel, but he just seemed like a really flat character who wanted nothing more than to be with Alina. I don’t think he really grew throughout this trilogy and he just wanted all that important to me.
I really wanted to see more of the Darkling in this book! He was featured as much as he was in the first book, despite being the villain and the whole reason everything was happening. We did get a bit of a back story to him though but I just wanted to see more of what made him who he was. I would read a spin-off solely based on the Darkling and I would love it.
I don’t want to say too much in the non-spoiler section of this review so to sum my feelings up, I enjoyed this book a lot but not as much as the other two. I wasn’t bored though I felt like too much was happening in a short amount of time. It didn’t live up to my expectations but it was still a pretty good conclusion to the Grisha trilogy.
The next section of this review will contain spoilers, so if you have not read Ruin and Rising I highly recommend you don’t read ahead. Go read the book and come back, I’ll be waiting for you and we can chat!
If I were to sum up my feelings about this book in one word, that word would be disappointing.
Basically this whole book was about Alina wanting more power and stopping at just about nothing to get it. In the beginning, she’s locked underground by the Apparat and is forced to pretend to summon light for the pilgrims, despite not being able to reach any in the tunnels. She and her loyal followers then break out to try and find the Firebird because the Darkling needs to be defeated and Alina really wants more power. Then a whole lot of the rest of the book is Alina searching for the Firebird, training Grisha to fight the Darkling and being in love with Mal.
And then we find out they don’t even need the Firebird because Mal is the amplifier so of course the romance gets even more complicated and often angsty. I really would have preferred if the Firebird was the third amplifier because having Mal be it just added this extra element and more for Alina to whine about that I just did not enjoy.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the love triangle in this trilogy. There was always one present and it always involved Mal. Alina could never seem to be able to choose between Mal and the Darkling or Mal and Nikolai. I felt like a lot of the novel was focused on Alina being in love with Mal but contemplating marrying Nikolai for the country. I really wanted this to be more about the war the Darkling was waging!
It’s not very often I love the side characters more than the main but for this trilogy it’s true. I loved Genya, Zoya, Tamar, Tolya and David. I thought they were just better people than Alina and I wish this trilogy had has multiple POV’s so I could see from these characters perspectives.
Another thing I didn’t really like about this was how Nikolai got ‘poisoned’ by the Darklings creatures. We hardly see Nikolai after that so was it really necessary to the plot? And then Alina chose Mal anyway (which we all know I am quite salty about) so I just didn’t think it was necessary.
One of the things I liked the least about this novel was the sex scene between Alina and Mal. OH MY GOD I AM SO SICK OF THIS SEX TROPE IN FANTASY NOVELS. The night before the big battle, Alina and Mal finally have sex and it’s Alina’s first time and they’re worried about not making it through the next day and I am just so sick of seeing this. This sort of thing pops up in so many fantasy novels that it just annoys me now. Like please, stop for a little bit.
I was expecting this big epic battle at the end between Alina and the Darkling and all I got were a few words and some sunlight. It was so anticlimactic! It all felt so blasé and I just didn’t enjoy it that much. The biggest thing that happened was Alina lost her powers. The death of the Darkling didn’t seem like that big a deal nor did the deaths of a lot of other Grisha. I just wanted something bigger and better.
I’ve complained a lot about this book but I did enjoy it for the most part! I loved the world and writing and the character development and, though it could have been much improved, I really enjoyed the plot! But I think that’s all I have to say for this novel so stay tuned for my review of Six of Crows!