Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and RisingTitle: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Series
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: June 17th, 2014
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)The summary of Ruin and Rising from Goodreads:

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.

Okay. I had emotions after finishing this book. Basically, I went through the five stages of grief over a span of about 15 minutes. First, I refuse to believe the book was over. My kindle had to be lying. It was just having a glitch and there was more story. Then I was angry because I had read the whole thing and I didn’t have any more story to read. I cursed myself for reading at this point. Next, I started bargaining with the book gods, asking for just a little more story…I’d forego sleep if I could just a little more. And then it was time for sadness. My heart just fell a little bit because the book, and therefore the series, was truly over. I had read the series for the first time and I couldn’t get those exact emotions back. Yes, I’ll reread the series, but it’s that first experience that I’d lost. And then I accepted that the book was over, I accepted that I had to close my kindle and sleep, but that I’d be able to return at any point.

What I Liked:

Once again, Alina’s struggles were what really made this book for me. Her character development was fantastic. She was really struggling in Siege and Storm, trying to reconcile what she believed her future would be with what she wanted. In Ruin and Rising, She’s realizing that she won’t be able to fully reconcile her wants with reality. They don’t line up well. She’s got to sacrifice things she never wanted to.

Reading as she began to understand the truth was heartbreaking. It felt as though my heart and turned into a rock that just sat in my chest and hurt. But even more important than Alina understanding this was her determination to continue to do what was right. She understood that her unhappiness would hopefully lead to peace and a life of possibilities for the people of Ravka. And I admired her for continuing to fight.

The Darkling is an interesting character. Yes, he’s power-hungry and certainly fits the “evil” definition. Yet, his back story lends more depth to his character. It’s easy to make a character that’s charismatic, greedy, seductive, and yet completely unlikable. It’s another thing to create a flawed person who develops until no longer recognizable as that good person they were born as.

The Darkling is more than just greedy. He’s not just straight evil. He’s dangerous, yet, but he’s not completely determined to destroy the world. He does think, at least in part, that his actions will bring peace to the world. While I certainly didn’t want him to succeed, and I didn’t think there was a great chance that he’d completely redeem himself, I am glad how he became the person he is became part of the story. It makes him more human, instead of a magical, powerful, evil being. It shows his flaws and weaknesses and how those led to who he is in the novels.

What I Didn’t Like:

I didn’t really have any issues with the story. I can understand the view of others that the ending didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story, but I thought it worked. It pulled everything around, completing the circle. It wasn’t how I thought the story would end, but I liked it.

I’d Recommend To:

If you liked the first two books, read this one. I’m definitely going to recommend this series to anyone who wants a good fantasy and romance all wrapped into one.

Purchasing Links:

Barnes and Noble

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