TITLE: Ruin & Rising
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: The Grisha (#3)
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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 I Liked:
- Bardugo did it again with the characters (for the most part) and it's not only the development of them individually that I liked, but also the way that they interacted with each other. The dialogue is always easy and real, injected with humour. Alina grew on me during this book which I'm glad about as she's the narrator. I also adored Nikolai's scenes (of which there were a lot more) and once again found myself reminded of why the Darkling is such a wonderful, multi-faceted villain. Bardugo certainly manages to make her characters individual, whether we're seeing awkward David, vain Zoya or grumpy Bhagra. Fantastic characters all!
- The world-building in this series is always spot on. I love it's references to Russian culture, as it gives it a different feel to other Fantasy series. I also loved the rest of the information that we gleaned from Bardugo's imaginings of other areas of Ravka. War, politics and historical context all play a big part in the story, as does the landscaping of the world itself.
What I Disliked:
- Part of my biggest problem with this series has always been the romance because I just don't feel it. Mal is not a great love interest, in fact I think he's the only predictable character in the entire thing. Sullen, moody, constantly wanting to sacrifice himself and as a result, boring. His interactions with Alina don't hold any real chemistry in my opinion and though I didn't really hate the way they ended, I didn't love it either. I simply didn't care.
It seems that no matter what he does, Mal and I are never going to get along. He's just not gained the same kind of development that other characters in this novel have and that's a real shame. However, I still loved this finale, because absolutely everything else about it was perfect! There was plenty of action, mixed with many thrills, twists and turns to keep me interested and Bardugo did a great job at making each member of her rather large cast stand out. I'm glad I finally finished 'The Grisha' series, as at last I can start 'Six Of Crows' which I've been waiting to read forever! Hooray!