Title: Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
“Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.”
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. – Excerpt from Goodreads
I originally had this rated at four stars but I’ve had time to mull it over more and I had to knock it down to three. Just a warning, there will be major spoilers in this review – if you haven’t read the other two books then I recommend clicking away now.
Ruin and Rising should have been epic, it had the potential too for certain. Leigh Bardugo is a great writer but I think she missed the mark a bit on this one. The book didn’t have the most interesting themes for the most part. Half the book was spent wandering around looking for the damn bird, not my idea of edge of your seat material for a last novel in a series.
There were some interesting plots but nothing spectacular. The best parts of the book for me were probably Nikoali changing into a creature and the battle in the middle of the book where Bharga died.
Ok, so why only three stars when I gave four stars to the first two books? The main reason is we got way too much of the Alina and Mal story (yawn) and the most interesting characters, The Darkling and Nikoali barely made an appearance in comparison. These two should have been front and center and they were completely pushed to the side lines.
I don’t understand Leigh’s obvious love for Mal – he’s honestly one of the most boring, cookie-cutter male leads I’ve read in awhile. He was better in this one than the other two, I can give him that much but I still didn’t care about the guy. When we find out that he is the other amplifier and not the bird, I just sighed because I knew he was going to be even more important to the story than he already was. I really couldn’t have cared less about the twist if I tried. When Mal died I honestly felt nothing. I was more than happy to sacrifice him to the cause, but I wasn’t surprised when they used the convenient trope of bringing him right back to life, I have to wonder how many cheered at that part.
The Darkling’s death had more of an affect on me but again, I felt like it didn’t get the attention it deserved and the end battle with him was lackluster to put it nicely. I just wasn’t at all impressed.
My other HUGE issue with this book is that Aliana gave up her power in the end to be with Mal. Yep, that is right – she gave up her power for a man. I understand she loved him but she was something bigger than he was and the idea of just putting out that light in her (pun intended) is just not ok with me. I wanted to actually see her rise, as the title suggests. Not give everything up so she can be “normal.” I knew we weren’t going to see her with The Darkling (my poor little fangirl heart might have wished it) but that wasn’t realistic really. It would’ve have been an amazing twist if Leigh had decided not to take the safe ending and have Aliana go completely dark and just mess us up in the end. I would have been in heaven. The other ending I would’ve been very pleased with is if she would’ve married Nikoali and taken her place in power, where she belonged.
If you liked the other books in the series then I’d recommend this book, if not then I would go any further because it really does go downhill in this one.