Series: Grisha #3
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Add it: Goodreads
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.