Review: Ruin and Rising

SYNOPSIS

BOOK THREE of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy

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.

WHAT I KNEW GOING IN

The end of Siege and Storm had me screaming on the inside for a variety of reasons. I had a coworker say not great things about it but I was enjoying the story far too much to bother worrying about his opinion. I was far too eager to witness the further downfall of the Darkling and whatever else happened leading up to his final showdown with Alina. 

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I had no idea what kind of situation Alina would find herself in after running to the Apparat. I also was not sure if I particularly trusted him or his motivations to begin with. But Leigh Bardugo pulled out all of the stops for this finale so I buckled myself and held on for dear life. 

The king’s former spiritual advisor has essentially become the leader of a fanatical cult that is worshipping a girl who never wanted to become a saint. The fact that he is doing what he genuinely believes is the right thing to do makes it all the more unsettling, because belief is a powerful thing. It can lead people to do all kinds of unexpected and sometimes unspeakable things. Belief is what is powering the Darkling as he continues on in his quest to make Alina his equal. His queen. And Alina has to decide just how far she is willing to go to make sure that she does not end up like him. 

WHAT I LOVED

This finale is absolutely epic. Leigh Bardugo pulled no punches with this one. The relationships between the characters are twisted and strained as they deal with the sheer impossibility of what they are trying to do. The Darkling has already succeeded in taking over the Ravkan throne. All he lacks is a queen. 

Throughout this book we get to see several characters who have been with us since the beginning really come into their own. Everyone gets a chance to shine, for good or for evil. 

I loved watching Alina’s continued struggle between the girl she used to be and the saint she has had to become. Couple that with the weight of the situation and the truth of the Darkling’s past that is finally fully revealed, it makes for a deliciously complicated situation. And we get the joy of 

WHO I RECOMMEND THIS TO

If you are looking for:

  • A coming of age story featuring someone who has had to fight for everything
  • Well developed characters and realistic dynamics between those characters
  • The juxtaposition between those with political power, magical power, and those who have neither
  • The impossible choices that come with being the person who is supposed to save everyone

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