Just Finished Reading ... Ruing and Rising/The Grisha Trilogy

Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Henry Holt
on June 17, 2014

Source: bought

Synopsis from 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.
This review - and the synopsis above - may contain minor spoilers for the first two books. But NO SPOILERS for Ruin and Rising here...

My take:  I've enjoyed these books so much. I'm sad to see this story end, but I thought Ruin and Rising was a fitting ending to a really excellent YA trilogy.  Some of my predictions came to pass, one major one did not, there were a few BIG surprises and some smaller ones, but overall I was pretty happy.

Now I will (cagily, to avoid spoilers) discuss some of my favorite parts of the trilogy:

The Story World
High fantasy and I are not always BFFs. Some fantasy books are too quest-y for me, and I am not into reading about fairies and goblins and elves. But the Slavic-inspired story world here was a revelation to me. Gone were the medieval trappings of fantasies I've read in the past. This world, seemingly inspired by Russia (with nods to neighboring countries that seem vaguely Finnish and Chinese) has a unique language. Customs. Food. Folklore. It feels both fresh and completely real.

The Characters
Yes, there are some familiar character types here: the orphan, the mentor, the world-weary villain. But all the characters in the story, even the minor ones, are three-dimensional and believable. When characters from prior books popped up, I was like, "Hey, old friend..."

The Humor
I love books that can seamlessly blend the serious with the comical, the sublime with the ridiculous. Each time I've read a book in this trilogy, I've been surprised by how many funny moments there are.

The Romance
This is a topic upon which reasonable minds can differ. I mean, when you've got the Darkling, Sturmhond and Mal, there's going to be some disagreement among readers. And that's all I better say about that.

The Twists
Each of these books has had a gasp-worthy moment for me. In Shadow and Bone, it happened on page 303-304. In Siege and Storm, it was on 143.  In Ruin and Rising, it has to be a tie between page 242 and page 377. Whoa... I was not expecting either of those things, but they both really worked. In a shocking kind of way. And page 377 was exactly like that time when ... *zips lips*

I do have a couple of questions which cannot be asked or answered here. If you've read the book and want to chat, email me!

Please, no spoilers in comments, or I will have to send a flesh-eating volcra after you....



  2. I completely fell in love with Shadow and Bone, but still need to read Siege and Storm! I keep getting distracted by other things. Now that this last book is out I need to get to it!

  3. I am so glad we were able to talk about this!! Such a great end to a series. I'm both sorry to see it end, but content with how it did. I loved the romance, and you are right: the characters are all 3 dimensional and feel like people we really know.

  4. I haven't read the first one in the series yet, but I am dying to. I got them for Mother's Day but haven't had a chance to read them!!!! I have to admit I didn't read the review, because I don't want to know anything yet, but I am so excited for this series!!!!

  5. I finished it last night too and wow... I was totally blown away by it! At first I thought that the pace was a bit on the unhurried side, but then everything changed and I was fearing for my poor heart!
    I for one was quite happy with how the romance turned out, but I could understand that not everyone would agree.

  6. Oh Jen...you are making me so excited! Someone was awesome enough to get me a signed copy, so I am waiting for it in the mail! <3 Then I shall read it and e-mail you immediately. ;) But this review is making my somewhat patient wait for this book go out the window. I NEED IT NOW.

  7. Yes to all this! One of my favorite parts of this series was the varied group that Alina gathers around her and the jokes here and there amidst the action. Great review.

  8. I own the first two book and I can't wait to read them! I'm glad that you enjoyed this series. I hope I will too!

  9. The gasp-worthy moments, YES. We need to discuss. :)

  10. awesome job with no spoilers, btw. I still have to start this series, but I know that I need to. I have the first 2 books staring at me from my bookshelf...mocking me. I am so glad you thought this was a great end to the series! I love fantasy, so I really need to get my butt in gear and pick this one up.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  11. I loved the first one! I need to read the other two. I got arc sometime ago and it has been a joy to see this terrific book grow in popularity.


  12. Since my review went up last week I thought I'd come back and read yours. Wasn't it just fabulous?!!! I totally agree with those did-not-see-coming moments! What amazes me is that even her twists made such sense with the characters and who they are and the plot. I just love that I felt no one ever diverted from character. And when Nikolai comes on the scene I just wanted to cheer and laugh. I just LOVE him. I was really, really happy with how things ended. It felt authentic to me and true to the characters and story. Can't wait for her next one!!!


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