Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grisha #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-half-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.

I’m FINALLY getting around to reviewing this book! I know, I know, I read it months ago when it was first released. What was holding me back, you ask? Well, my dears, it was the fucktacular way the series ended. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed by such a highly anticipated book. I’m going to be spoiling people because I’m not sure I can review this book without explaining exactly why I hated it. 

Okay so Alina ended up with Mal. I’m not sure you understand my deep, deep hatred for that guy, so let me break it down for you. Mal is one of the most vile characters I have ever come across, and I have read about a lot of horrible people. This wasn’t an instance where I could laugh about his idiocy and stan him anyway (unlike Hush, Hush, which I liked for reasons that I can’t explain) because he was just such a cock. In the first book he was bearable, if a little too entitled, and then in Siege and Storm he turned into the great arsehole the world has ever seen. And Alina ends up with him because apparently the universe hates me.

Alina’s character progression that I was loving in the first two books swiftly turned into complete regression. She was on her way to becoming a ruler, a queen, and empress, etc. etc., and then at the end of this book she throws it all away to be with her ~One True Love~ and go back to her little village that she HATED during her childhood because apparently now that she has her love, her saviour, all is well and she can handle anything. I’m just so glad that Mal was able to let her do this, guys. Give up her powers and truly become herself again and face her childhood head on *wipes away tears* BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T DO IT HERSELF COULD SHE?!

So, Alina, who was an almost-warrioring badass who stood up to her oppressors and helped the helpless, is saved by a guy and gives up everything to be with him. I feel cheated. And it doesn’t help that we didn’t even get to see any of this post-war stuff. There was a bloody epilogue and that was it. THAT WAS IT. AFTER ALL WE HAD BEEN THROUGH.

Sturmhond was the best character in this book, and quite possibly the only saving grace. If there was a saving grace, which there wasn’t. I love his snark and his storyline in Ruin and Rising was the greatest thing because he went from being a pirate to a prince to a creature to a king. I totally thought that, after his transformation, that Alina was going to realise her feelings for him because she was so bloody upset. Alas. She did not. That storyline also went nowhere because we didn’t get to see anything of Nikolai after he turned back into a human. WHY. Why do something like that if you’re only going to mention the impact a couple of times?!

Overall I thought that Ruin and Rising was an epically crap book, and incredibly disappointing considering the previous two books in the series were pretty great. Everything in Ruin and Rising fell back to Mal, from the Darkling’s background, his relatives, Alina, the firebird… it was all Mal because he’s the centre of this fucking universe. No, thank you, I do not accept this.

4 comments on “Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Becca Lostinbooks October 30, 2014 1:49 pm

    I saw you hated it, which sucks, because I am getting ready to read Shadow and Bone.

  2. Becca October 30, 2014 3:50 pm

    Yes! Thank you! I loathed this book, and I could barely believe it was the real conclusion to the series because literally everything I didn’t want to happen DID. I can’t stand Mal either. He wanted Alina to go back to the scared little girl with no power (He actually reminds me a lot of Adam from Shatter Me). And he just has an incredibly bland personality aside from that.

    Yes, Nikolai is totally awesome and in glad he got his rightful kingship. Him and Genya’s confrontation with the King were the only good parts of R&R. Alina was completely frustrating and it’s really sad because I liked her a lot at first. I even still do a little, I just think she’s terrible at making decisions.

    And the Darkling’s end was very anticlimactic. Alina basically stabs him while he’s distracted. Wow. And she never attempts to reason with him at all, even though after his death she admits to herself that he loved Ravka. Plus the little note in the beginning of the book says “Sometimes our heros don’t make it to the end.” I can only assume this is referring to the Darkling, so why is it there? To taunt us? Personally he was my favorite character.

    *sigh* I, of course, respect everyone’s bookish opinions, but I truly don’t understand why some think it’s a brilliant ending. Awesome review.

  3. Natalie Crown November 1, 2014 3:54 pm

    Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. You’ve brought it all back.

    I didn’t hate Mal AS MUCH as you. But dude…that ending. Alina’s character progression took a nosedive into non existence. Sturmhond basically ended up being pointless. And Mal was the big hero. Fucktacular is the word, indeed.

    (Also…you LIKED Hush, Hush. What are you.)

  4. Ruby December 28, 2016 11:05 pm

    I totally agree!!! The ending was crap. I was completely heartbroken to see that Alina didn’t choose to be with Nikolai. Mal is a self absorbed idiot. Nikolai and Alina don’t even have a ship name. He loved her until the end but she turned him down. Mal should only be a childhood friend, a brother to her, not a lover. The ending was so cliche.

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