Author: Leigh Bardugo
Provided 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: One of the things I love most about writing book reviews is the discussion they often lead to. For example, I have encountered reviews for this book on either side of the spectrum from extreme hate to extreme love with plenty of reasons given as to why the reader felt the way they did. As for me, this book is a love. I read it in a matter of hours because I could not put it down. I finished with a feeling of peace settled over me. And you know what I’ve begun to garner from my perusal of other reviews? That it is possible my love for this book is because I re-read books one and two right before I began the finale.
Yes, maybe it is a bit unfair to have to read all the books in close proximity to truly grasp the story. But in the case of The Grisha Trilogy this is what works. I had not read Shadow and Bone since it was first released, therefore I had forgotten a lot of the smaller details of what had happened; I did not enjoy Siege and Storm on my cold first reading, but the re-read made me appreciate it so much more on the heels of its predecessor. When you read the books as a unit you realize that the author has placed down the foundation of where this story will go all along. You will realize that this is the story of two orphans who nobody thought were extraordinary but who had the power within them to change the world. And I believe Ruin and Rising delivered on this premise.
After the retreat from Alina’s cathedral confrontation with the Darkling all of the characters were broken and damaged (hence the ‘ruin’ in the title). Total war is now upon Ravka, and the only way to defeat the Darkling is to rise (you see that!?) above the conflicts they might have had with each other and within themselves to band together to be stronger than a power of one. The journey never bored me, and the climax pleased me with its dead-on hit of the book’s theme along with the way it did not close the story. Time is given to tie-up loose ends and I leave this world completely satisfied.
In the end, I guess my only disappointment with this series is that there were three men who vied for Alina to choose them. Because of this love issue, I think a lot of readers have been left disappointed she did not choose their favorite man and have not formed an unbiased opinion of the end for what it was. I have said time and time again that love triangles (or some other awkward shape, in this case?) can drag a story down…