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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.
Ruin and Rising is the thrilling final installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently makeup and special effects. These days she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
Read an Excerpt
Ruin and Rising
By Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2014 Leigh Bardugo
All rights reserved.
I STOOD ON a carved stone balcony, arms spread, shivering in my cheap robes, and tried to put on a good show. My kefta was a patchwork, sewn together from scraps of the gown I was wearing the night we fled the palace and garish curtains that I'd been told came from a defunct theater somewhere near Sala. Beads from the lobby chandeliers made up the trim. The embroidery at the cuffs was already coming undone. David and Genya had done their best, but there were limited resources underground.
From a distance, it did the trick, sparkling gold in the light that seemed to emanate from my palms, sending bright glimmers over the ecstatic faces of my followers far below. Up close, it was all loose threads and false shine. Just like me. The threadbare Saint.
The Apparat's voice boomed through the White Cathedral, and the crowd swayed, eyes closed, hands raised, a field of poppies, arms like pale stalks shaken by some wind I couldn't feel. I followed a choreographed series of gestures, moving deliberately so that David and whichever Inferni was helping him this morning could track my movements from their position in the chamber hidden just above the balcony. I dreaded morning prayers, but according to the priest, these false displays were a necessity.
"It is a gift you give your people, Sankta Alina," he said. "It is hope."
Actually, it was an illusion, a pale suggestion of the light I'd once commanded. The golden haze was really Inferni fire, reflected off a beaten mirror dish that David had fashioned from salvaged glass. It was something like the dishes we'd used in our failed attempt to stave off the Darkling's horde during the battle in Os Alta. We'd been taken by surprise; and my power, our planning, all of David's ingenuity, and Nikolai's resourcefulness hadn't been enough to stop the slaughter. Since then, I'd been unable to summon so much as a sunbeam. But most of the Apparat's flock had never seen what their Saint could really do, and for now, this deception was enough.
The Apparat finished his sermon. That was the signal to end. The Inferni let the light flare bright around me. It jumped and wavered erratically, then finally faded as I dropped my arms. Well, now I knew who was on fire duty with David. I cast a scowl up at the cave. Harshaw. He was always getting carried away. Three Inferni had made it out of the battle at the Little Palace, but one had died just days later from her wounds. Of the two that remained, Harshaw was the most powerful and the most unpredictable.
I stepped down from the platform, eager to be out of the Apparat's presence, but my foot faltered and I stumbled. The priest grasped my arm, steadying me.
"Have a care, Alina Starkov. You are incautious with your safety."
"Thanks," I said. I wanted to pull away from him, from the turned- soil and incense stench he brought with him everywhere.
"You're feeling poorly today."
"Just clumsy." We both knew that was a lie. I was stronger than when I'd come to the White Cathedral — my bones had mended, I'd managed to keep down meals — but I was still frail, my body plagued by aches and constant fatigue.
"Perhaps a day of rest, then."
I gritted my teeth. Another day confined to my chamber. I swallowed my frustration and smiled weakly. I knew what he wanted to see.
"I'm so cold," I said. "Some time in the Kettle would do me good." Strictly speaking, it was true. The kitchens were the one place in the White Cathedral where the damp could be held at bay. By this time, at least one of the breakfast fires would be lit. The big round cavern would be full of the smells of baking bread and the sweet porridge the cooks made from stores of dried peas and powdered milk provided by allies on the surface and stockpiled by the pilgrims.
I added a shiver for good measure, but the priest's only reply was a noncommittal "hmm."
Movement at the base of the cavern caught my attention: pilgrims, newly arrived. I couldn't help but look at them with a strategic eye. Some wore uniforms that marked them as First Army deserters. All were young and able-bodied.
"No veterans?" I asked. "No widows?"
"It's a hard journey underground," the Apparat replied. "Many are too old or weak to move. They prefer to stay in the comfort of their homes."
Unlikely. The pilgrims came on crutches and canes, no matter how old or sick. Even dying, they came to see the Sun Saint in their last days. I cast a wary glance over my shoulder. I could just glimpse the Priestguards, bearded and heavily armed, standing sentinel in the archway. They were monks, scholar priests like the Apparat, and belowground they were the only people allowed to carry weapons. Above, they were the gatekeepers, ferreting out spies and unbelievers, granting sanctuary to those they deemed worthy. Lately, the pilgrims' numbers had been dwindling, and those who did join our ranks seemed more hearty than pious. The Apparat wanted potential soldiers, not just mouths to feed.
"I could go to the sick and elderly," I said. I knew the argument was futile, but I made it anyway. It was almost expected. "A Saint should walk amongst her people, not hide like a rat in a warren."
The Apparat smiled — the benevolent, indulgent smile that the pilgrims adored and that made me want to scream. "In times of trouble, many animals go to ground. That's how they survive," he said. "After fools wage their battles, it is the rats that rule the fields and towns."
And feast on the dead, I thought with a shudder. As if he could read my thoughts, he pressed a hand to my shoulder. His fingers were long and white, splaying over my arm like a waxen spider. If the gesture was meant to comfort me, it failed.
"Patience, Alina Starkov. We rise when the time is right and not before."
Patience. That was always his prescription. I resisted the urge to touch my bare wrist, the empty place where the firebird's bones were meant to reside. I had claimed the sea whip's scales and the stag's antlers, but the final piece in Morozova's puzzle was missing. We might have had the third amplifier by now if the Apparat had lent his support to the hunt or just let us return to the surface. But that permission would only come at a price.
"I'm cold," I repeated, burying my irritation. "I want to go to the Kettle."
He frowned. "I don't like you huddling down there with that girl —"
Behind us, the guards muttered restlessly, and a word floated back to me. Razrusha'ya. I batted the Apparat's hand away and marched into the passage. The Priestguards came to attention. Like all their brothers, they were dressed in brown and wore the golden sunburst, the same symbol that marked the Apparat's robes. My symbol. But they never looked directly at me, never spoke to me or the other Grisha refugees. Instead, they stood silently at the edges of rooms and trailed me everywhere like bearded, rifle-wielding specters.
"That name is forbidden," I said. They stared straight ahead, as if I were invisible. "Her name is Genya Safin, and I'd still be the Darkling's prisoner if it weren't for her." No reaction. But I saw them tense at even the sound of her name. Grown men with guns, afraid of a scarred girl. Superstitious idiots.
"Peace, Sankta Alina," said the Apparat, taking my elbow to shepherd me across the passage and into his audience chamber. The silver-veined stone of the ceiling was carved into a rose, and the walls were painted with Saints in their golden halos. It must have been Fabrikator craft because no ordinary pigment could withstand the cold and damp of the White Cathedral. The priest settled himself in a low wooden chair and gestured for me to take another. I tried to hide my relief as I sank down into it. Even standing for too long left me winded.
He peered at me, taking in my sallow skin, the dark smudges beneath my eyes. "Surely Genya can do more for you."
It had been over two months since my battle with the Darkling, and I hadn't fully recovered. My cheekbones cut the hollows of my face like angry exclamations, and the white fall of my hair was so brittle it seemed to float like cobwebs. I'd finally talked the Apparat into letting Genya attend me in the kitchens with the promise that she might work her craft and make me more presentable. It was the only real contact I'd had with the other Grisha in weeks. I'd savored every moment, every bit of news.
"She's doing her best," I said.
The priest sighed. "I suppose we must all be patient. You will heal in time. Through faith. Through prayer."
A surge of rage took hold of me. He knew damn well that the only thing that would heal me was using my power, but to do that, I needed to return to the surface.
"If you would just let me venture aboveground —"
"You are too precious to us, Sankta Alina, and the risk is far too great." He shrugged apologetically. "You will not have a care for your safety, so I must."
I stayed silent. This was the game we played, that we'd been playing since I'd been brought here. The Apparat had done a lot for me. He was the only reason any of my Grisha had made it out of the battle with the Darkling's monsters. He'd given us safe haven underground. But every day the White Cathedral felt more like a prison than a refuge.
He steepled his fingers. "Months gone by, and still you do not trust me."
"I do," I lied. "Of course I do."
"And yet, you will not let me help you. With the firebird in our possession, all this might change."
"David is working his way through Morozova's journals. I'm sure the answer is there."
The Apparat's flat black gaze burrowed into me. He suspected I knew the location of the firebird — Morozova's third amplifier and the key to unlocking the only power that might defeat the Darkling and destroy the Fold. And he was right. At least, I hoped he was. The only clue we had to its location was buried in my scant childhood memories and the hope that the dusty ruins of Dva Stolba were more than they seemed. But right or wrong, the firebird's possible location was a secret I intended to keep. I was isolated underground, close to powerless, spied upon by the Priestguards. I wasn't about to give up the one bit of leverage I had.
"I want only the best for you, Alina Starkov. For you and your friends. So few remain. If anything were to happen to them —"
"You leave them be," I snarled, forgetting to be sweet, to be gentle.
The Apparat's look was too keen for my liking. "I simply meant that accidents happen underground. I know you would feel each loss deeply, and you are so very weak." On the last word, his lips stretched back over his gums. They were black like a wolf's.
Again, rage coursed through me. From my first day in the White Cathedral, threat had hung heavy in the air, suffocating me with the steady press of fear. The Apparat never missed an opportunity to remind me of my vulnerability. Almost without thinking, I twitched my fingers in my sleeves. Shadows leapt up the walls of the chamber.
The Apparat reared back in his chair. I frowned at him, feigning confusion. "What's wrong?" I asked.
He cleared his throat, eyes darting right and left. "It's ... it's nothing," he stammered.
I let the shadows fall. His reaction was well worth the wave of dizziness that came when I used this trick. And that's all it was. I could make the shadows jump and dance but nothing more. It was a sad little echo of the Darkling's power, some remnant left behind in the wake of the confrontation that had nearly killed us both. I'd discovered it when trying to summon light, and I'd struggled to hone it to something greater, something I could fight with. I'd had no success. The shadows felt like a punishment, ghosts of greater power that served only to taunt me, the Saint of shams and mirrors.
The Apparat rose, attempting to regain his composure. "You will go to the archives," he said decisively. "Time in quiet study and contemplation will help to ease your mind."
I stifled a groan. This really was punishment — hours spent fruitlessly perusing old religious texts for information on Morozova. Not to mention that the archives were damp, miserable, and crawling with Priestguards. "I will escort you," he added. Even better.
"And the Kettle?" I asked, trying to hide the desperation in my voice.
"Later. Razru — Genya will wait," he said as I followed him into the passage. "You needn't scurry off to the Kettle, you know. You could meet with her here. In privacy."
I glanced at the guards, who had fallen into step behind us. Privacy. That was laughable. But the idea of being kept from the kitchens was not. Maybe today the master flue would open for more than a few seconds. It was a slim hope, but it was all the hope I had.
"I prefer the Kettle," I said. "It's warm there." I gave him my meekest smile, let my lip tremble slightly, and added, "It reminds me of home."
He loved that — the image of a humble girl, huddling by a cookstove, hem trailing in ash. Another illusion, one more chapter in his book of Saints.
"Very well," he said at last.
It took a long while to wend our way down from the balcony. The White Cathedral took its name from the alabaster of its walls and the massive main cavern where we held services every morning and evening. But it was much more than that — a sprawling network of tunnels and caves, a city underground. I hated every inch of it. The moisture that seeped through the walls, dripped from the ceilings, clustered in beads on my skin. The chill that couldn't be dispelled. The toadstools and night flowers that bloomed in cracks and crevices. I hated the way we marked time: morning services, afternoon prayer, evening services, Saints' days, days for fasting and half fasting. But mostly I hated the feeling that I really was a little rat, pale and red-eyed, scrabbling at the walls of my maze with feeble pink-tinged claws.
The Apparat led me through the caverns north of the main basin, where the Soldat Sol trained. People backed against the rock or reached out to touch my golden sleeve as we passed. We set a slow pace, dignified — necessary. I couldn't move any faster without getting winded. The Apparat's flock knew I was sick and said prayers for my health, but he feared there would be a panic if they discovered just how fragile — how very human — I was.
The Soldat Sol had already begun their training by the time we arrived. These were the Apparat's holy warriors, sun soldiers who bore my symbol tattooed on their arms and faces. Most of them were First Army deserters, though others were simply young, fierce, and willing to die. They'd helped to rescue me from the Little Palace, and the casualties had been brutal. Holy or not, they were no match for the Darkling's nichevo'ya. Still, the Darkling had human soldiers and Grisha in his service too, so the Soldat Sol trained.
But now they did it without real weapons, with dummy swords and rifles loaded with wax pellets. The Soldat Sol were a different kind of pilgrim, brought to the cult of the Sun Saint by the promise of change, many of them young and ambivalent about the Apparat and the old ways of the church. Since my arrival underground, the Apparat had kept them on a far tighter leash. He needed them, but he didn't wholly trust them. I knew the feeling.
Priestguards lined the walls, maintaining a close eye on the proceedings. Their bullets were real, and so were the blades of their sabers.
As we entered the training area, I saw that a group had gathered to watch Mal spar with Stigg, one of our two surviving Inferni. He was thick-necked, blond, and utterly humorless — Fjerdan to the core.
Mal on his shirt. The onlookers gasped. I thought he might draw back, but instead he charged. He dove into a roll, dousing the flames on the ground and knocking Stigg's feet from beneath him. In a flash, he had the Inferni pinned facedown. He secured Stigg's wrists, preventing another attack.
The watching sun soldiers broke into appreciative applause and whistles.
Zoya tossed her glossy black hair over one shoulder. "Well done, Stigg. You're trussed and ready for basting."
Mal silenced her with a look. "Distract, disarm, disable," he said. "The trick is not to panic." He rose and helped Stigg to his feet. "You all right?"
Stigg scowled, annoyed, but nodded and moved to spar with a pretty young soldier.
"Come on, Stigg," the girl said with a wide grin. "I won't go too rough on you."
Excerpted from Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Copyright © 2014 Leigh Bardugo. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The NOOK version does NOT have the bonus short story.
I could not but Ruin and Rising down. Leigh has given her fans one of the most amazing series ending books I have ever come across. There are no breaks. No perfect "Okay, I think I'll start dinner now" moments. Not only do you not want to put it down, you can't. It's impossible! There was one very distinct moment, and I cannot say when because hello HUGE spoiler, where I knew I wasn't finishing this book on Sunday unless it was the wee hours of Sunday morning. I will tell you it was around page 250, about 59% into the book. Alina's character has made such a transformation from herself in Shadow and Bone. Even The Darkling makes note of it when he makes a sex joke and she dishes it right back when two novels ago she would have blushed and looked away. Speaking of The Darkling - we learn is name! You know Leigh definitely is definitely going to tie up all loose ends when she reveals even that smallest detail. There are so few Grisha left for Alina after the events of Siege and Storm, but this small group (we're talking 12 people) ban together in such an amazing way to stand against The Darkling and his cruelty. Considering the number of characters Leigh has to work with, each and every one of them stand on their own two feet. Their personalities never blend into one another and they don't come across as one secondary blob. A true testament to Leigh's writing ability. It's not just characters though. She does an amazing job with descriptions, scenery, Alina's internal thoughts. Nothing about Ruin and Rising comes across as a 417 page novel. You can't escape her beautiful writing and the real world doesn't bleed through while you're reading either. I'm not really going to touch on the romance, there is such a huge divide in this series that I know people will be pissed, pleased, and contented. Not many people are able to pull having more than one love interest, but it's real and logical in The Grisha. There is no "clear choice" or a guy thrown in there just to make things interesting. Leigh did a wonderful job with her love quadrangle, simple as that. To boil this rather long review down, Ruin and Rising is a beautiful ending to a beautiful series. The writing is fantastic, the continuously developing characters lovable, and the plot simply amazing. I was already a fan of Leigh's halfway through Shadow and Bone, but knowing that she can end a series just as well as she can start a series has sky rocketed her to a position on my top authors.
4.5 stars for Ruin and Rising. -1 star for B&N for false advertising. Was pretty upset the NOOK version didn't have the short story as stated on the website when I per-ordered the book, since that was the only reason I bought it through Barnes & Noble as I had already purchased the first two books with Amazon and would have liked them all in the same electronic library. The story though was great. An excellent finish to the series. I wasn't too surprised with the ending, but the story really pulls you in and I definitely shed a tear or two. Recommend this series for anyone who likes fantasy romance.
The entire series was a very big build up for the end of book three which had a very anticlimactic ending. I was very disappointed in the final battle which is what I found to be very anticlimactic. Overall the series was intriguing and the final ending very well rounded. Glad I read it, but will sadly never reread the series.
Just like the ending? no. no thank you leigh, you can have thatt ending back
The thing I like about this series is that the story didn't morph into something unrelated to the initial concept. It's one big story, broken into three books. It's been such a long time since I read Siege and Storm that I had a difficult time remembering who some of the minor characters were. It didn't bother me too much since I got sucked into the story anyway. Leigh Bardugo knows how to capture her readers. I loved the progress that Alina made, up to a point. Some of her decisions were selfish, but for the most part, she cared about her country and tried to do the right thing. I've never been able to like Mal, and I still didn't in this book. I felt like he didn't deserve Alina. But then again, in some ways Alina didn't deserve him. I found Nicolai's fate very interesting. I adored him in the last book and I still loved him in this one. I was disappointed that the author decided to have the characters pair up the way they did. I really wanted this book to be clean, and it almost was. There is some sex in the book, and it's mostly non-descriptive. Even so, I would only recommend this book for older YA readers. Overall, it was a riveting and mostly satisfying ending to a great series. Content: Violence, non-descriptive sex, kidding, mild language.
Incredible end to the series. Bardugo still has surprises and twists that left me guessing to the end. It's a fast paced and satisfying read.
This is the finale of the GrishaVerse trilogy and a fitting finale it is. As with both the other books in this series, Ruin and Rising is filled with action, adventure, heartbreak, loss, healing, and love. Bardugo does a fantastic job revealing the mysteries of the Amplifiers and the origins of the Darkling and her own strange powers. I loved every bit of the trilogy, particularly the fact that the book ends with real closure. If you liked the ending of Mockingjay in the Hunger Games trilogy, you will like the ending of GrishaVerse. My only critique, and it is a mild one, was that I felt the ending of the book might have been just a touch lengthy. While I appreciated that Bardugo tied up loose ends and beautifully framed the opening and closing of this book with fairytale-like narrative, I felt that after the great battle and all that is resolved through it, I didn't need to hear more about Alina's story. This was a wonderfully entertaining, fast-paced series that I highly recommend to all magical fantasy lovers.
***Spoilers. You’ve been warned*** The plot was a pretty fast paced one, just like the first and second. This one’s got more heartbreaking moments and I’m glad to see the romance drama has cleared as well. You still feel the awkward tension between Mal and Alina and it does induce moments of eyeball rolling but the heartbreaker comes when hell breaks loose and Nikolai gets taken away and becomes corrupted by the Darkling. Did I ever want to cry out loud in horrifying rage. Of all people Nikolai just HAD TO BE THE ONE. Just when things were getting a little better, when it looks like he might have snagged Alina and they might be together (just maybe?) but noooo! He had to be corrupted and although he valiantly did try to fight it my heart broke into two. (I guess you could say I’m all for Team Nikolai) Which of course clears the path for Mal and Alina to try again and rekindle their love. This love triangle was one where I was happy with who she would end up being with either way. Of course I would have preferred Nikolai because I loved his character and personality. But now that Mal stopped his stupidity the chemistry was back between himself and Alina. It just felt right. I loved how everything just came to full circle to close this series. How in the end, Mal and Alina go back to recreate the orphanage to house children just like how they used to be when they were young. It was sad to see Alina decline to be at Nikolai’s side, but also to decline to be at court with the other Grisha but, it was for the better. Alina had never felt like she was part of them, neither did Mal. It was touching when she received the kefta with the note (yeah I got a little something in my eye with that moment) And even though the Darkling didn’t deserve it, kudos for Alina to take the high road and giving him a proper ending. I enjoyed reading this series. I’m sad to see this series come to an end. I didn’t realize how attached I were to some characters. It was a nice sigh of relief at the end though. When I closed the book after reading the final page. It was a beautiful but bittersweet ending. (David and Genya!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!) :D
This is my favorite book of the series! It's hard to get into detail with spoilers, so this review will be short. While I still don't love Mal as a character and I had a few wishes for the ending, there was nothing else I disliked about this book. I loved how intense it was, I loved the way all the little details pulled together at the end, I loved the backstory we got about their powers, I loved the themes of loneliness and desperation to belong that were developed, I loved the plot twist and the development of Alina's relationship with the other Grisha. A very satisfying end to the series.
Emotional. Get your tissues. Great book. I didn't give it five stars, not because it didn't have a somewhat happy ending, but because it didn't end the way I wanted. Maybe that's not fair, but you get emotionally invested in characters. I couldn't put this book down
Ruin and Rising is yet another shining example of Leigh Bardugo’s literary excellence. The world building is, for lack of a better word, perfection. It’s so incredibly immersive that I’m still having trouble processing that I am not in Ravka hours after finishing it. The characters have such great depth that it’s difficult to imagine them as something a person created with just words on a page. Each character has their own feel and their own history. I could easily see myself taking part in many of the conversations between characters, though I prefer to avoid the ones that end in explosions. The story itself is bittersweet and absolutely stunning. Everything comes together and all questions are answered at the end of this series finale. I only wish I could forget it to read it again for the first time. For this review and more, please visit my blog at vicariousbookworm.wordpress.com
Love this series!
This was a really satisfying conclusion to a compelling trilogy.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo is the third and final book in the Grisha Trilogy. The Apparat is supposedly caring for Alina, the Sun Summoner, while all of her allies have been accused of treason. The group escapes and goes in search of the Firebird, the third and last amplifier. Once again, Nikolai saves them and he brightens up everything with his clever wit and resilient personality. The elevator scenes made me laugh, with the great dialogue! The group fights the Darkling again and horrible things happen. The author brings the characters to life with her details and the development of Genya is impressive and creates empathy for her struggles and amazement for her bravery at the same time. The descriptive world building made me feel as though I was in the middle of the action. I could feel the air move as the Firebird flew by and my ears hurt with its screech. Unpredictable, suspenseful and touching in all the right ways - 5 stars!
pooled ink Reviews: Overall this book was a solid conclusion to the Grisha Trilogy. Thank goodness. Endings are tricky things indeed but I feel that Bardugo did a solid job. She left bits up to interpretation, bits a tad open-ended, bits to spark fan theories and readers’ imaginations. But all in all everything was nicely concluded. The important stuff was finished, explained, etc. And I really feel that her ending, while definitely controversial amongst readers, was fitting. Sure the girl inside of me that grew up on Disney Princess movies and happily ever afters was screaming “Nooooo!” but even that was only ever half-hearted and the more I thought and reflected on it all I realized I felt at peace with the ending and that it was exactly the ending these characters and this series needed. The story of the Sun Summoner and the Darkling has been told. It began, it developed, it ended. But the epilogue lives on. Read my FULL review here: https://pooledink.com/2015/09/16/ruin-and-rising/
I enjoyed this series. Some places it dragged but on the whole it was well done. ~*~LEB~*~
Blinding Light The best part of this one by far was the beginning. I loved seeing Nikolai take charge and the rescue missions by him are always a blast to read. Truly, I wish this series was about him as he is an amazing character but unfortunately he's not in this story much. I enjoyed learning more about the Darkling's past and the history of this world. I thought getting more information about the amplifiers was a great touch to the story. Again, the side characters are always fun to read about. There is a large group of very different people that all add their own quirks to the story. Darkness Reigns So this one was good in the beginning, progressively got boring, and then just flat made me angry. There are so many amazing powers in this story, and the heroine has this huge power that could've had such astonishing potential, and she hardly ever uses it. I am just astounded by how much her power is 'talked' up and then she barely delivers. Back to our heroine, she makes some incredibly outrageous choices in this one. In the first one she was lacking in self esteem, in the second one she actually wanted to die in parts, and in this one she is greedy and self-serving. Yes, everyone has faults, but this is supposed to be the mobad heroine that the whole world is rallying behind and frankly she doesn't deserve the support. The way everything was 'resolved' just leaves me shaking my head. I cannot fathom the choices that were made. It was all very unbelievable to me. Bound Together The romance I enjoyed in this one until a crazy choice by Alina. Then I'm just trying to figure out how on earth Mal can stand to be around her. Pyres Burning in the Distance The series as a whole started out good and slowly got worse. I was expecting much more out of the story because the concept is so wonderful. The powers that the characters have could truly have gone somewhere fantastic. This one was a let down. The side characters are great and definitely carry the story.
Leigh Bardugo is Queen of fantasy!
3.5 Stars Ruin and Rising is such a difficult book for me to review, because I had so many feelings, both good and bad! Plot: Ruin and Rising picks up right after the cliffhanger in Siege and Storm. The Darkling has even more power now and Alina has finally come to terms with her attraction to her three gentlemen suitors (we can call them that, can't we?). Ruin and Rising was nonstop action that had me at the edge of my seat in hopes that everything ended well for these characters I have come to love. While Bardugo's writing was solid and kept me glued to the pages, I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending for some of the characters (and out of fear of spoiling it, I'll leave it at that). Characters: I have never been so torn about the love interest in a series as I have for The Grisha Trilogy. In Shadow and Bone, The Darkling was such an attractive and seductive character and I couldn't help but fall in love with him. As the series progressed, he was portrayed more and more as our villain and it overwhelmed me. Did I still love the Darkling? Would he ever be redeemed? How am I supposed to feel?? Because I was so attached to him from Book 1 (hell, probably more attached than Alina), I didn't love the third book as much. The other characters were memorable and often brought a smile to my face or made me worry about their general safety. Alina's transformation is beautiful and it's what I want from all my female MCs from here on out. World Building: The world of the Grisha is one of my favorite worlds to be transported to and I felt that this world was even more enhanced with Bardugo's novellas that gave background to the culture and folktales. Short N Sweet: The Grisha Trilogy is one of my favorites stories of all time, while I wasn't completely sold on the ending, this is a world that I will never forget!
Wow!! I LOVED the conclusion of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy! This trilogy was absolutely fantastic. I cared about the characters, every single one of them, even the villains. Ruin and Rising What I loved about the series as a whole was that the author never lost sight of the bigger picture. The whole series builds to a fight between good and evil, dark and light, a incessant battle for power. It would have been really easy to have focused on the romance aspect of the book but that didn't happen. The focus on the battle between the Darkling and Sun Summoner really propelled the series forward, especially this final book. Alina's character development over the course of the series was brilliant. It kind of reminded me of the way Karen Marie Moning built MacKayla Lane's character like a freaking boss. In Shadow and Bone, Alina was a meek mapmaker who lacked confidence, who pined over her best friend and soldier. She never thought she was worthy. After she discovered her gifts brimming underneath her skin, she was forced to go through so much, and in turn she came into her own. She blossomed and commanded an army, made friends with warriors, and won the hearts of many. But only one person had her heart. The romance in this series is very understated but quite lovely at the same time. Leigh Bardugo had an opportunity to take the romance in to triangle territory (and even square territory) but she didn't. She stayed true to the characters in this one. "You were meant for more than me, and I'll die fighting to give it to you. but please don't ask me to pretend it's easy." There was one clear villain in the series, a love interest, and a strong leader with great comedic timing. Admittedly, I grew a little tired of Mal's incessant desire to put aside his feelings for Alina in order for her to take the crown. But I understood why he was that way (that didn't mean I had to like it though *stomps foot*). After a long and very apparent absence from my heart, the Darkling came back with a vengance in Ruin and Rising. Holy Saints, he's a vicious thing. "You live in a single moment. I live in a thousand." The utterly seductive Darkling I loved in Shadow and Bone is no longer. He's killing things with no craps given, manipulating people like it's his job, and just being generally creepy. He's one of my favorite villains because even though he's bad, there are still cracks in his veneer of good. He allows himself to be vulnerable (or maybe he's just playing Alina), where you see the young innocent boy he once was. This is one of those series with wonderful secondary characters. David and Genya's adorable relationship and quiet devotion. Sturmhond's Grisha, Tamar and Tolya, were fierce warriors, yet knew when to be funny. And who can forget Oncat and Harshaw, the Inferni who loved his tabby cat so much. I really enjoyed them all, even Zoya with her prissiness stuck-up attitude. The ending melted my heart and left me with a big smile on my face. Though it was a little bittersweet, I was still incredibly happy and I don't think I could have asked for a better ending than this. Thank you, Leigh Bardugo. 4.5 stars
It was REALLY good