Wow. Book finales, am I right?!
When it comes to the final book in a trilogy or series, you have this certain expectation and hunger for it to be the perfect ending. Usually that means the only ending that would be acceptable to you because you’ve had it pictured in your mind since book one, and to stray from that is a bit of a letdown. For me, that would be The Hunger Games. Collins ruined it by letting Katniss end up with Peeta (#TeamGale). Sorry, but it’s how I feel about it! And while Leigh Bardugo pulled that same kind of crap with Ruin and Rising, she more than made up for it.
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 finally liked Alina in Ruin and Rising, it only took us two books to get here but at least we’ve come this far. She grew a backbone and started taking charge of her role as a leader and the savior of Ravka. She’s even making choices that she know won’t make Mal happy, which is some serious progress right there! She has quit whining about how she doesn’t want to save her country and is willing to step into the role she was given. I honestly wasn’t sure if this day would ever come but I am so glad it did. This series would have always been a step below my expectations if I had continued to dislike Alina’s character. That’s always a knock against a book if I can’t connect with the main protagonist, for me at least.
Guys, I tried really hard to like Mal but even though he wasn’t as awful in this book, I still hate him. He’s like a cardboard box, empty and stiff. There’s nothing interesting about him. He just doesn’t draw me in or find any ways for me to connect with him. I may be the only one, but I also didn’t find any connection between him and Alina. There I said it! I got excited at the end but that turned out to be a disappointment. We were so close, Bardugo, so close.
My sweet Darkling. You were evil and manipulative and selfish but I will always love you. It’s obvious now as to why he was the way he was (hindsight is always 20/20), but I appreciated that Bardugo made him into such a complex character. He gave 120% to whatever he thought he needed to do and I find that very admirable. He had lived such a long life that it turned him into this monster that we see. I liked that he wasn’t completely evil but was able to feel and know what it’s like to be so different than everyone else. It’s hard when you feel so alone and unfortunately, he just couldn’t handle that very well. But I liked where he ended up, I think it was very fitting. Kudos, Bardugo.
This series was all about the side characters. I loved them all! Zoya, Genya, David, Nikolai, and Harshaw totally stole this show in this book. They had the best personalities and scenes throughout the entire series. I was more invested in the story when they were in it than I was at any other time. I really appreciated that Bardugo really brought Zoya and David to life in this book. Those two became much more complete characters and I found myself rooting for them more than Alina. Zoya in particular really shined and her interactions with Harshaw were great.
Ruin and Rising was definitely a great ending to this series. There was plenty of action and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat (or in my case, my bed). I don’t think there was anything missing either, that still needed to explained or covered. Bardugo did a great job of covering everything. It was also really neat to see how small details in the first two books were actually foreshadowing different major plot points in this one. But I think my favorite part of this book, and probably the entire series, was the epilogue. I may have shed a few tears because it was so sweet and beautiful. It may not have been the ending I had envisioned, but it was still perfect in its own way.
I definitely recommend this series to everyone. It’s got a little bit of everything from action to romance to a great fantasy world, it’s all covered.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
What are your thoughts on the Grisha Trilogy? Which book was your favorite? Did you like it or hate it? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉