Name: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Number of Pages: 368 (Paperback)
Published: 19th June 2014 by Indigo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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. – from Goodreads
Back to Ravka for the final time in the conclusion to the Grisha trilogy and the stakes are high as Alina, Mal and the surviving Grisha set out to find the elusive firebird in the hope that it will help Alina to become strong enough to fight and defeat the Darkling once and for all.
Weakened from her previous struggles with the Darkling, Alina is literally underground, supposedly protected by the Apparat, but the ’protection’ appears more like being under house-arrest, as Alina is kept under close guard. This situation changes quickly, and when it does things really take off, and we’re back in the wonderfully dangerous, adventurous terrain of Siege and Storm as Alina ventures to new places which are bought to life just as beautifully as they were in the preceding book.
Ruin and Rising sees Mal back on form. I thought he was quite lost at times during Siege and Storm, not really knowing his place or the way in which he could best help Alina. Here, Mal knows and acknowledges what must be and what cannot be, and remains resolute that he will stay beside Alina, serve her and help her to find what she wants in order to battle on. He wants to be the very best he can under the circumstances and I really liked him for it.
Mal has really developed as a character, and I felt a certain sadness in that Alina may not eventually be able to choose a genuine love match, instead possibly having to choose the best possible alliance for power and position. Her relationship with Mal is tested to great lengths.
The locations are once again beautiful and so visual, from the escape through the tunnels and the various caverns they passed through, to the Spinning Wheel, which had some scenes I absolutely adored (meteor shower!!), and out into the wilderness in the hunt for the firebird. I loved venturing back into the endless darkness of the fold and into danger as the final confrontation loomed close.
Several important points are finally revealed in Ruin and Rising, including the true name of The Darkling. I KNEW his name was going to be significant, and I won’t spoil anything here, but I’ll say that I was wrong in what I initially thought regarding his identity.
Alina is surrounded by a wonderful group of characters and the group provides moments of light relief, humour, banter and developing friendship and camaraderie during a very dark time.
There’s the beautiful Zoya, the scarred but still-strong Genya and even Harshaw and his tabby cat Oncat are good minor characters. Tolya and Tamar remain two of my favourites. I still loved Nikolai too, and the way his story developed offered some unexpected shocks along the way.
Be warned though, getting attached to any character this time around is probably unwise, as the book doesn’t shy away from the conflict with the Darkling and his armies.
The story is fast paced and the stakes are high as Alina is warned she might not be able to control the power that the third amplifier may enable her to wield. As Baghra darkly warns, the only way to stop Alina if she becomes all-powerful may be through death, so that brings home just how much she is taking on in her quest to become a genuine rival to the Darkling and his plans for dominance.
I really want to talk more about all the scenes that stood out for me, because there were many, but I won’t do that in my review because I don’t want to spoil the book. I may write another entry, just to talk about everything that struck me, which I’ll clearly mark spoilers, so if you’ve read the book you may like to read that, but if not, then definitely do read the book then come back and chat with me about how you found it.
I thought Ruin and Rising provided a fitting end to the Grisha trilogy, and although I’d imagined things would turn out differently I was satisfied with what happened.
I was left with one burning question though, which I will always wonder about, but I’ll save that for another time…
You can now read On Reading… Ruin and Rising, but please remember… spoilers!