Ruin and Rising
by Leigh Bardugo
“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.” -Goodreads
I’m going to start this by saying that Leigh Bardugo epitomized how a trilogy should pan out. I’ve read quite a few trilogy including the popular Divergent and Hunger Games, and I’ve yet to be completely satisfied with an ending until today. I’m not saying the novel was flawless, but that it wrapped up all aspects of the story successfully. The story came to a happy ending (a necessity if I’m to enjoy the story) which I appreciated (although I was rooting for the other guy). Bardugo’s world has complex characters who all have flaws, but those flaws end up creating a greater whole. In addition to a thrilling plot full of action and adventure, there are also really sappy, adorable lovey scenes. The story has quite a few moments of cute, funny dialogue, particularly when Nikolai is involved.
Speaking of Nikolai, I have a new fictional crush. Nikolai is handsome, cocky, quirky, funny, and adorable. Spoiler [[ He doesn’t end up getting the girl, which is the one major aspect that distraught me.]] I love how being one man, Nikolai has so many ways of associating with others. There is Prince Nikolai who is all regal and can talk to the people and nobles appropriately, and then there is Privateer Nikolai who consorts with smugglers and bandits.
Bardugo has a means of making the reader feel bad for the antagonist, the Darkling. He is made out to be a sad boy who grew up thinking he is the only great one out there. Spoiler [[ His destruction is mourned as well as celebrated by both the reader and Alina. ]] This is one of the first times an author has pulled that much sympathy from me for a villain.
So as to not spoil the story, more than I already have, I’m not going to remark much on our protagonist Alina and her best friend Mal. Just know that I’m satisfied with their cyclical ending.
To take a step back, I must share my love of the cover design of this novel and its prequels. I love that each novel cover reveals one of the amplifiers in a sort of subtle way.
Like most wonderful books, this novel gave me so many feels. So much so that they are still lingering and the book has been set aside for a while now. I definitely recommend this entire trilogy to readers who like young adult fantasies.
What did you think of the Grisha Trilogy?
Featured image is the map from the book Siege and Storm.