Review (With and Without Spoilers)–Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
by Leigh Bardugo

Summary: 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.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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I loved the first tw
o books of the trilogy and I was very excited about the release of Ruin and Rising. I reread the first two books to prepare for the finale. This has been one of my favorite series!

As far as the plot, writing, and adventure arc goes, Ruin and Rising was spectacular. I enjoyed the suspense, the way that character’s fates were on the line, and the alliances they chose. I loved the characters and their interactions, from the deep moments to the tension-relieving humorous ones.

Still, despite loving so many aspects of the novel, I felt disappointed by it as a whole. Most of the reasons for my disappointment will be spoilers, so it’s hard to explain. I guess I had hoped for more. Maybe not redemption of the characters, but growth. I don’t feel like Alina ended up in a position to fully stretch her wings and grow. I thought she hung on to so much of the past, despite it being physically unhealthy for her to turn her back on her own self. I thought books one and two accurately portrayed that, so the conclusion, while convenient as far as the power conflict was concerned, was sort of a cop out.

I do recommend the trilogy and I love the story, I just wish it would have ended differently.



Suffering is cheap as clay and twice as common. What matters is what each man makes of it.

“Don’t,” I said. I drew back, but he held me tighter. His hand went to the nape of my neck, long fingers twining in my hair, easing my head back. I closed my eyes. “Let me,” he murmured against my throat. His heel hooked around my leg, bringing me closer. I felt the heat of his tongue, the flex of hard muscle beneath bare skin as he guided my hands around his waist. “It isn’t real,” he said. “Let me.”

“Know that I loved you,” she said to the Darkling. “Know that it was not enough.”

“It’s getting dark. You shouldn’t be out here alone.” “I’m the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does.”


Do Not Continue Reading Unless You Have Read the Book or Don’t Mind GIANT Spoilers

Here’s the thing… I never really thought Alina would end up with the Darkling. I completely understood that his character was probably too far gone for Alina to ever make a difference and work together with him. After the events at the end of Shadow and Bone and the events in Siege and Storm, I thought it was more and more obvious that the Darkling would have to be defeated and not changed. I still think an ending with him as the good guy would have been awesome, but I wasn’t expecting it. So that’s not really why I’m disappointed.

I hate Mal. I really do. I think he’s petty, jealous, and immature. And I can’t stand how he treats Alina. He only paid attention to her when they were little and then completely ignored her as teenagers, despite her pathetic girl crush on him. I thought their connection was only strong because of their isolation and that, once Alina discovered she could BE without him and be more, awesome, powerful, strong, and better than she was, she would outgrow her pathetic girl crush. I watched her give herself dark circles under her eyes by withholding her power when she was with him. I saw him flinch at her hunger for power and try hold her back. I saw her holding herself back for his sake. Mal did eventually come around and acted less fearful of Alina’s power, but his distaste for it always seems palpable. How on earth could Alina, the Sun Summoner, ever end up with him? It just didn’t work. How many times was the Darkling SPOT ON about him?! I mean, come on.

Nikolai was a nice in between for me. He was a good person, intelligent, and a wonderful match for Alina. He had all of the good qualities that the Darkling possessed without any of that evil dictator thing. He respected Alina and did not fear her or wish her to be less powerful. He was a happy medium and I would have liked to see their relationship expand.

So you might understand why I hate that Alina ended up with Mal.

And how convenient for both of them that they ended up with no powers at all. Because the only way that Alina could ever end up with Mal is if she wasn’t powerful. (and what kind of lesson is that?) I guess I just expected a better lesson than that. I already hate when YA books have heroines who end up with their pathetic girl crushes because I think real life is far less convenient (and I think that once girls end up with that guy they always crushed on, they typically discover that person wasn’t all he was cracked up to be and I prefer that because of all of the growth that comes with it.) I think girls should outgrow their childhood crushes. Especially one who paraded around with gorgeous women and ignored the girl for many years. The happy ending (imo) is not the two of them marching off into the sunset. It’s her finding out she can DO BETTER and BE BETTER.

I loved the whole orphan school at the end, so I did love that Alina and Mal gave back and helped make other orphans better, but that’s the only good thing about their union.

I thought it should have ended with powerful Alina having to use Mal as intended, fix Nikolai, destroy the fold, and live on to lead the Grisha at Nikolai’s side. (Or joining the Darkling and making him a less evil person.)

Also, it was incredibly convenient that Alina was able to use Mal and bring him back, while also losing her power, turning her into a regular person, while also stripping Mal of his tracking ability. Ugh. So now that GIANT CONFLICT preventing them from being together was magically solved and Alina ended up at his side.


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