Book: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Standing: Book 3 (final)
POV: 1st person by Alina, past tense
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Physical copy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release: June 17th, 2014
Rating: 4 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.
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I just finished it. And I'm in ruins. Devastated, because it's OVER. Commence the waterworks and the book hangover. How mean fate is, with this series ending.
Alina. She has been forced underground as a means to recuperate from a devastating battle with the Darkling. However, she knows that time is ticking and she needs to get back up and out in order to find the firebird to complete Morozova's set of amplifiers if she hopes to stand a chance against the Darkling and his army. Throughout this book, we see her character being toyed with the idea of martyrdom, since she's believed to be a Saint by many people, and the potential abuse of power. Alina's desire for the firebird as the final amplifier to her power is what makes her keep going, but unlike the last book, she has a clear mind on her limits to controlling it: she either finds it, or doesn't; she either stops the Darkling, or he kills her; she either uses it correctly, or will have to make others put her down. Power, both physical and name-wise, makes her character strong, and we get to see how she can use it to her advantage.
Mal was as supportive as ever, even if he lost his way in the last book. He was easily Alina's fiercest protector, and a true captain. He may not be Grisha, but he proved time and time again that he can hold his own. Mal truly earned his worth this book, fighting alongside the loyal Grisha, helping them fine their skills and attacks. He was calm and collected under pressure, every bit the general, and did not hesitate to make his own sacrifices for Alina (THE SACRIFICES). Mal has gained a lot of wisdom over the course of these three books, and I'd definitely want someone like him on my side, both to support me and to fight alongside me.
"I just know there's no way to live without pain--no matter how long or short your life is. People let you down. You get hurt and do damage in return."
The Darkling has left a trail of broken hearts, and mine is part of that collection. Ever since the first book, I have been entranced by this alluring and mysterious character, trying to understand him. It is difficult to hate him, and much more easy to feel drawn to him, to hope for his salvation or redemption. Yes, he tortured and killed numerous people. Yes, did he some extreme things. No, I will not renounce my love for him. I'm still very much in love with him. After all, there was one scene...that one scene in which my heart was beating crazily in my chest. My heart is breaking all over again.
Nikolai I've loved since we met him in the last book. His easy charm and optimism was extremely likeable, and I was glad to see that it didn't vanish in this book. He has much burden to bear after enduring everything his family has done. But there was one event that happened to him that I never saw coming, and I think it's safe to say that it really did put his character into perspective. Nikolai may be charming, but he isn't invincible, and he has his share of terrible memories and experiences. War comes at a cost, one that Nikolai paid devastating, body and soul. A traumatic experience, for sure, but I think it just makes him a better person in the end.
"Alina, I'll be back to fetch you for dinner, but should you grow restless, do feel free to run screaming from the room or take a dagger to her. Whatever seems most fitting at the time."