{Review} Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo + Mini {Prequel} Review!

Ruin and Rising

by Leigh Bardugo
Published June, 2014
Goodreads: See here
YA Fantasy

Plot at a Glance:

The fate of a nation rests with Alina, a sun summoner whose connection to her power lies broken. Trapped in an ancient network of tunnels at the hands of the Apparat and his religious zealots, Alina has no choice but to plot her escape. The mythical firebird calls, and she must find it before her enemy does. She will have to put aside old rivalries and forge new alliances if she’s going to get there in time. The firebird is the last thing that stands between her and Ravka’s destruction, and she must claim it, even if doing so results in the destruction of all she knows.

Previous Reviews:

{Review} Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
{Review} Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo



Oh man, this was so much better than I could have hoped it would be!

Did it meet my own personal preferences? Not in the slightest. And while a loud and vocal part of my mind immediately started blaring red alert warning sirens when I saw things slipping away from how I hoped they’d go, I still appreciated the journey.

Note that I’m going to avoid spoilers in this review, so the things I say will stay fairly general and just touch on the surface elements of this book and its place as the final installment of a trilogy.

I’ve seen a lot of conflicting opinions from fellow bloggers and reviewers and often wondered how a community could be so split. Now that I’ve finished the series for myself, I think I understand the conflict. Admittedly I’m still a tiny bit conflicted myself. Bardugo filled the pages of these three books with some wonderfully memorable character and storylines for them. It’s hard not to pick favorites and even harder not take it personally when their stories turn in directions we would prefer they didn’t.

But I understood the reasons for the choices made here, and I respect Bardugo because it’s clear that she went into this trilogy with a very specific vision, and damn did she commit to it. Even when the tide of the fandom might have been turning in another direction, she chose to honor her original plans, of which there was definitely foreshadowing towards all the way back in Book 1.

The Darkling has to be one of the strongest and most memorable characters I can think of in an YA book I’ve read in recent years. He’s incredibly well crafted, especially within the role he ends up playing in the trilogy. His motives are compelling, and totally understandable. Morally ambiguous characters are hard to write well, but when they’re done right they become elevated from a caricature to another level that he deservedly belongs on, in my opinion.

Alina’s story comes full circle in this entry as well. I have to say that I really enjoyed her character journey a great deal. My only complaint here is that at times her power seemed a bit too easy for her to master. She goes from being nearly unable to call the light at all, to shearing the tops off of actual mountaintops. She’s definitely a strong character, but I find her at her strongest when she’s making decisions and confronting her demons without the powers that at times felt a little like a crutch.

Mal was actually bearable here, and thank goodness for it because he’s certainly more central to events in this entry. While his negativity and possessiveness from the previous book seemed to simply evaporate into thin air, I was grateful for the change of heart. He’s much more enjoyable the way he was written in this entry.

For those who followed my reviews for the last two books, one of the biggest complaints I had about Siege and Storm was the glacial pace. Rest assured that it was mostly disposed of here in favor of a plot that really cranks out event after event, in a lot of memorable places as well. I was certainly never bored!

Ultimately, this was a really thrilling conclusion to the Grisha trilogy. I’m so happy to have gotten to know these characters over the last month. I can’t wait to move on to Crooked Kingdom next month!

🌟🌟🌟🌟✩ = 4/5 stars!

Buddy read with the wonderful Chelsea over at The Suspense is Thrilling Me.

//Mini Review// The Demon in the Woods

The Demon in the Woods

{The Demon in the Woods} by Leigh Bardugo
Prequel to The Grisha Trilogy.

I normally don’t go in for prequel stories – because I’ve got so many large tomes calling my name at home already – but I made an exception for this one. I’m just hooked on the world of the Grisha and of course, on the Darkling.

He’s an incredibly captivating villain and I can’t get enough of him. While this prequel story didn’t reveal anything new about the character, it fleshes some great character building moments from his history that actually lend a lot to better understanding his actions in the present story.

I’d actually recommend reading this between Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. I don’t feel like it spoils anything, but instead highlights some of the final revelations about his character, in an “ah ha!” sort of way.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 = 5/5 mini, prequel stars

There’s certainly a lot of contention around this series! What did you think of it? Which characters were you rooting for? 



11 thoughts on “{Review} Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo + Mini {Prequel} Review!

Add yours

  1. It’s one of my favourite series and I loved Ruin& Rising so, so much. Even though I still don’t like Mal and still want the Darkling and Alina to be endgame… but well. It shouldn’t be. And The Demon in the Woods! Oh dear, I love that prequel! And I seriously need more Darkling in my life…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am in total agreement with you. The Darkling was like my LIFE through all 3 books. I wanted him to be endgame, but the way the book actually ends is perfect and really makes a lot of sense in terms of the larger picture of the entire trilogy.

      I would read a whole prequel trilogy about a teenage Darkling coming into his powers.

      Liked by 1 person

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