What’s it all about?:
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.
What did I think?:
Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series has been without a doubt my favourite YA/fantasy series to read with each book leaving me increasingly captivated and more in love with the characters and the world of Ravka that she created. The series begins with Shadow and Bone, continues with Siege and Storm and finishes (sniffle) with Ruin and Rising. I am aware that some people reading this may not have got to the third book or have started the series yet (where have you been?!) so I’ll try and keep this review spoiler free.
As the novel begins our heroine Alina is trapped underground with her loyal band of followers including the Apparat whom she’s not sure she can entirely trust. He manages to convince her to put her faith in him and continues to preach and boast of her powers to those that worship her as their saint. However, the events of the last book have left Alina greatly weakened and she is not sure whether she has the emotional or physical strength/capabilities to be their Sun Summoner once again and do battle with The Darkling.
During her recuperation, Alina has discovered that she has a mysterious connection to The Darkling but she cannot quite fathom how or why this has come about. Their encounters are filled with passion and anger and only serve to weaken Alina more. As a result, she becomes more determined to unlock his secrets and attempt to find the elusive last amplifier, known as the firebird. She manages to persuade the Apparat to leave the underground tunnels and caverns that are all too familiar to her and have become somewhat claustrophobic after many weeks of confinement. The race is now on – find the firebird, defeat The Darkling, restore the throne of Ravka to the correct ruler and finally bring peace upon the war-ravaged lands. Things are never that simple unfortunately and Alina must use all her inner strength and call on every loyalty available to her if she is to face the dark days ahead.
Like the other two books in this trilogy, Ruin and Rising is absolutely unputdownable. It never fails to amaze me that a world so intricate and beautiful as Ravka was born out of imagination and what an imagination this author has! The words seem to roll together so effortlessly that it can make you completely lose track of time as you feel more invested in this story and the characters that inhabit it. I’ve already mentioned that The Darkling is one of my favourite characters in this series but now on finishing it I’ve come to realise that he is now one of my favourite fictional characters ever. Just the right amount of intrigue, mystery, magic, power and evil and then to top it all off the author makes you feel a bit sorry for him = character that has gotten under my skin. The plot has more twists in it than a Slinky and I loved not knowing what was going to happen next. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, jam packed with suspense and so wonderfully sad all at the same time and I finished it a bit bereft having thoroughly enjoyed spending time in her world. Although I have heard that the author is writing a two book series which will be based in the same world, Ravka but involve different characters – how exciting!
Finally, I just want to mention the ending as I’ve noticed a lot of negative reviews on Good Reads and they appear to be from people that are giving it one/two stars because things didn’t go the way they personally wanted for their favourite characters. Sorry, being deliberately vague here! I can’t really understand this way of thinking as I’ve been devastated by an ending to a book before but have appreciated that this is the way the author chose to end it (it’s her story right?) and I can still admit that it was a great book worthy of three stars or greater. Anyway, if you haven’t finished the series yet, please do and let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t started the series, what are you still reading this review for? Go and start it immediately! I’ve given all three books in the series five stars which I’ve never done before, it’s definitely something a bit special.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):