August 12, 2014

Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

[This is the third book of The Grisha trilogy, so there may be spoilers for the previous books. You may check out my reviews of book one, Shadow and Bone, and book two, Siege and Storm instead.]

Ruin and Rising book cover
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #3
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

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. (from Goodreads)

Honestly, 2014 feels like the year of series enders! I’ve read quite a few “last” books in a series, and while I’ve loved them all, today is the day for me to celebrate the immense love I have for Ruin & Rising. I didn’t know what to expect from the third and final installment of the Grisha trilogy. But I have to say that I was extremely pleased by how Bardugo chose to bring this chapter of Alina’s story to an end. 

(And yes, I believe we may see her again one day. Who knows, right? Especially when a new story is being written in the same universe…)

Ruin & Rising, man. From the moment I picked it up, I just couldn’t set it down again. Fact of the matter is, I read the entire book in one afternoon/evening. How’s that for compelling? I just couldn’t stop turning the pages as I read on to see what happened to all these beloved characters – Alina, Mal, the other Grisha, the citizens of Ravka and, of course, my beloved Sturmhond – since I was so deeply invested in their fates. 

Bardugo’s storytelling was wonderful. As with the previous two, she managed to completely immerse me in this world and the rich culture she’s cultivated. She also managed to reconnect me with characters I hadn’t read about in a year, so that was lovely. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of trust that I experience with series I really love; the author’s talent has spoken for itself, and so I trust him/her to lead me on to the most fitting conclusion for their book.

It is, however, because of these characters that I loved this book so. Bardugo had, by the end of the first book, ensured that I cared about what was happening to some of the main players. By the end of the second books, I was thoroughly engrossed in the lives of all these characters! And here, in the third, I treasured the time spent with each of them. I loved that there was a much more present focus on people and relationships in this one, whether friendship, family or romance. I was totally brought to laughter, tears and anger by what was happening with all of these people, which only further supports my belief that Bardugo’s writing is exceptionally wonderful. In particular, I most enjoyed reading about Alina (stronger than she knows!), Mal (what a sweetheart!), Sturmhond/Nikolai (life & laughter of the party every goddamn time!) but even the Darkling (complex & confusing, this one!) left quite the impression.

My immediate reaction after turning the last page? I hugged the book hard. Ruin & Rising was the perfect way to end this series! It really wrapped up the story well, making sure that major points were addressed fully. It also allowed readers a last opportunity to hang out with these wonderful & diverse characters, and really commiserate and celebrate with them at turns. It’s really wonderful (and my favorite of the three!), so if you’re already a fan of this series, you absolutely must read it.

[… and if you’re not reading this series yet, well, you should be! Russian-inspired (not actually Russian, by the way) culture, magical abilities, multiple story threads, an extremely compelling villain, a main character with real struggles and growth, and fun secondary characters – if any of these things jump out to you, read this series immediately!]


  1. I heard great things about all of Kasie West's books but I am really looking forward to read this book :)

  2. Ahh I love this series so much! I thought I was going to hate the ending because of all the horrible things that took place, but in the end, I thoroughly appreciated the way all those things happened.

  3. Agree with everything you said here...fantastic review Alexa! I find myself actually MISSING the characters now that I am done with the series, and Bardugo's writing is just magnificent and powerful!

  4. I loved reading this review! I just finished this book a few days ago and had pretty much the exact reaction that you did. So, so, so good! I loved how at its heart it was a story of desire, ambition, greed, belonging, choice, and identity. Loved it SO HARD!!

  5. Siiigh! I love these books so so much. Love your review!

  6. I agree! Such a perfect end.


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