Title: Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Hold and Company
Publication Date: 2014
Page Count: 422 (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 13
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. ~ Goodreads
There were so many things to love about this book, even if it did drag a bit in the middle. I loved Alina, Sankta Alina, and what she became at the end of the book. The last third of the book is where it truly shined. The ending was so unique, and so beautiful that I really loved everything about it. It wrapped things up so well for every character. It wasn’t too perfect, but it was a happily ever after kind of ending that I really enjoyed. And even though it was a “happily ever after ending”, it didn’t feel forced or cheesy. It was a bit lucky, a bit improbable perhaps, but it really wasn’t that unrealistic. All of the characters had suffered and lost so much that I’m glad the author stopped telling the story when she did, because it was nice seeing them somewhat happy for once.
I love the Darkling. His character is humanized, so very humanized in this book. I believe far more than almost any other YA fantasy villian I can think of (granted I can’t think of any YA fantasy books right now besides this series and Six of Crows). Seriously, Alina and the Darkling have a bond, and it’s really shown at the end of the book. I love so much how Alina can’t really bring herself to hate the Darkling, they are too similar and she knows him too well. At some point, where normally people would be cheering, I actually teared up a bit.
This book does seem to lack what the other books lacked as well: being unable to put them down. Even though I wanted to love this book, I really couldn’t. I was bored during parts, and I feel like too many interesting things appeared and then disappeared and then were never really in the spotlight again. I didn’t drag myself through the middle, but I did begrudgingly push myself to finish. I still feel like a lot more could have been done with this series, especially this book, and some of it was just kind of weird. Still, I really did enjoy reading this series and I’m proud to have it on my bookshelf.
Overall, it was fairly unremarkable.
“Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.”