Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3; Grisha Verse #3
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 3/5 stars ★★★
“Suffering is cheap as clay and twice as common. What matters is what each man makes of it.”
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.
3 of 5 stars to Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
As I made progress with this series, the magic continued to fade. The last two books weren’t as good (or at least as exciting) as the first one but it didn’t change the fact that I still wanted to know how the story would end, hence, why I am here.
My theories from book two were pretty much right (here is my review if you want to know) so the big revelation about Mal being the third amplifier didn’t surprise me anymore. However, there was still the ‘oh no’ moment because I guessed the opposite. I thought Mal was there as a buffer to Alina’s powers, turns out, he was the last amplifier and he needed to die so she can save Ravka (that’s pretty good drama right there). I was rooting for this two so much since book one so I’m glad they came out okay after the fight. It’s a bit saddening how they both lost what made them special (Alina with her light and Mal with his tracking skills) but the way the author ended the story appeased me because now I know whatever it is they miss or long for, they have each other to fulfill it.
The main issue I found with this book is how shallow Alina’s relationship is with the minor characters. A lot of them died but I couldn’t care less because I barely knew them so I didn’t get attached. They only felt like accessories to the story rather than key pieces. This is definitely something the author should work on (if you want stories with characters of depth, check out Laini Taylor’s work; she’s amazing, Strange the Dreamer happens to be a favorite of mine).
Having said that, there is one minor character (more like a second lead to be honest) that captured my attention and that is Nikolas Lantsov. He is one entertaining character and I am so ecstatic to find that he has his own series (the first book will be out in a few days but the next one is slated for next year…. 😦 that’s too far). I can’t wait to get my hands on it especially because after the curse, he just got more interesting.
Anyway, I know a lot of people don’t like Alina and Mal as individuals or as a couple, and I admit there were plenty of times they got annoying, but I still stand by my original sentiment about them being refreshing. YA Fantasy novels are almost always lead by heroes and heroines with big aspirations like saving the world, revenge, etc. but with Alina and Mal, they simply wanted to be together. I think that’s beautiful because love is beautiful and it’s so rare for fantasy novels to use love and togetherness as the main end goal for lead characters. For a long time, being together was their priority and saving the world only second. It sounds selfish and is definitely not the noble route expected of main leads but it’s also very real and raw. Eventually, they would put aside their love and even sacrifice it to end the enemy but I appreciate that the author made sure I see them grow. They started out as characters with simple dreams and ended up maturing a lot throughout the series’ arc. I hope I get to read about them in the other Grisha books. It would be nice to know if they had children.
Even though my experience with this series wasn’t as great as I had hoped, I’m still continuing it (Six of Crows is next!). There really is just something addicting about it despite the many issues I found with it since book one. Why, I don’t like the writing style- I find it simplistic; the characterization is lacking; the pacing got worse as the story progressed; and yet I still want to read it. It’s like a guilty pleasure for me at this point. But I’m not really feeling guilty and in fact, I’m even excited.. so let’s just say, I’m hooked.
As a nod to the end of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I made this couple moodboard of Alina and Mal. I just find their story so touching.
“They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things-if love can ever be called that.”
**photos used in the moodboards are not mine;