Published: June 19th 2014 by HachetteAU
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
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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.
I always approach the last book of any series with some caution. After all, this book will be how I remember the series for a long time to come. So I’m happy to say that Ruin and Rising is a fitting and brilliantly crafted conclusion to the Grisha trilogy, one that fans will be sighing over happily for years to come.
Much of the YA fantasy that I’ve read tends to focus more on the romances in the story than the war or rebellion (or whatever goal the characters are working towards). I am very glad that Ruin and Rising didn’t take that route. This is a fantasy novel full of planning and long treks, treasure-seeking, camping, violent attacks and constant danger. There is romance, but it’s cleverly woven in and never becomes the focus of either the story or the character motivations.
My heart broke over how Mal changed over the last book – realising that he can’t offer Alina things like power or a throne, he offers her his loyalty and devotion in this book, and nothing else. He wants to be a weapon in her hands, to be used as she sees fit. Their friendship (and that tentative bloom of love) is put through many tests in Ruin and Rising, and I loved that they both stayed true to their characters throughout the book. Every decision they made, even those I didn’t agree with, was in keeping with that we knew of who they are.
Of course, we can’t talk about love and power without talking about Nikolai and the Darkling. Alina finds out a lot about the Darkling in this book (it had the feel of Harry Potter in book 6 when he found out about Voldemort’s past), and I think readers get a better sense of what drives him and how he sees the world. It was sad, but it didn’t make me like him any more – there’s really nothing (for me) that can excuse how evil he is. I loved the role Bhagra played in this book.
Nikolai, however, made my heart flutter on every page. Firstly, I love the way he and Alina banter. She doesn’t really have that with anyone else since Mal pulled away from her, and I adored the way these two talked to each other! Of all plot-lines in this book, I think my Nikolai’s is my favourite because of how it affects him and how he handles it. He’s awesome. Bring on a spin-off about his raiding days I says.
The plotting of Ruin and Rising is superb – I think the story unfolded naturally and was well paced throughout. I was never bored, and I liked that the action scenes came when I least expected them. The fight sequences were realistic (as much as they could be) and I liked that the author explored how killing made the characters feel. And the science-y trick with the invisibility? Brilliant. And it’s real – we (science-maticians) are totally working on it.
I loved Ruin and Rising. I’m sad to see these characters go, but I think this book closes out their stories fittingly. I am now even more excited about The Dregs, Bardugo’s upcoming duology set in the Grishaverse.