I read it in one day! I just could not put it down. Damn!
Title: Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #2) Author: Leigh Bardugo Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Publish Date: June 17, 2014 Goodreads: 4.2/5 Barnes and Noble: 4.6/5
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 has spoilers.
Nothing has changed much with the main characters – Alina, Mal, Darkling and Nikolai. They are still the loveable characters we had in the first and second book. But that’s completely understandable as they already had two books focused on character development.
In this book, Bardugo invests in widening her Grishaverse by introducing more characters and giving us more of Zoya, Genya, David and more of the other Grishas that had helped Alina but was set aside in the first two books.
Zoya was the pretty girl from the first book who Alina felt jealous for because they both liked Mal. Genya, also known as the Tailor, had special abilities beyond a normal Corporalki crossed over Fabrikators. David is the most talented Fabrikator of their group and is Genya’s partner.
In the whole series, Genya was my favorite. Despite siding with the Darkling before, she certainly made up for her actions and helped Alina win against him. The next would be either Nikolai or Zoya. Nikolai, because… he’s Nikolai! How can I not swoon to that handsome, talented and charming prince? Zoya tied because she’s my spirit-character. Like a morally straight Regina George. Love it!
We also see lesbian partners here (which I did not expect). We see a blossoming partnership between Nadia and Tamar.
Style and Pacing:
I couldn’t put down the book. No phrase was boring and no chapter was action-less. But it also had its soft parts that Bardugo spread perfectly across the book.
This is my 5th Bardugo book (because I read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom first) and I can assure you that she does not fail. She gives us exactly the right amount of foreshadowing, enough to keep us wondering yet not giving to much that the ending will still surprise you. (Well, everything surprised me.)
What I loved in this book was that there were less annoying inner Alina voices and more action. You can tell that her mind was set and that she wanted to act on the problem head on already. In the second book, that was what made it flat for me. Also, just timely as the story was already ending.
I have not read any book like this!
Well, this is your typical “chosen one” story – a girl with extraordinary power faces an extraordinary danger and in the process of defeating the villain she has to find herself and make her strong. Don’t we just love those kinds of stories? (I know I am!)
However, the world-building is superb. I thought that Bardugo was done building Ravka, but she gives us more glimpses of the neighboring countries like Fjerda, Kerch and especially Shu Han. She differentiates the countries and their culture by how they treat Grisha, each country worse than the other.
Okay. Brace yourselves for spoilers.
THE ENDING! And this is me fucked up for reading Crooked Kingdom first. Six of Crows happens 2 years after the Ravkan War. From there, it is revealed that the Sun Summoner, Alina, had sacrificed herself to defeat the Darkling.
I believed it. I thought she died. And I accepted it. (I was expecting it really.)
Then BOOM! She’s alive.
She lived through her fight with the Darkling, and so did Mal. In those last 2 chapters, I seriously thought Mal died. I cried like a baby at his sacrifice. How unfair would it have been. But then he lived. I even thought they did some pig’s blood trick, but no. There was an explanation to it.
That was so unprecedented.
I didn’t even consider Mal as an amplifier. Not ever.
MAL INA. Hmmm. I guess we all saw that coming. But by the end of every book, I certainly thought she was going to end up with the Darkling or Nikolai (Dear, choose Nikolai!).
BAGHRA! That old hag. Why did she do that? She could have lived. Instead, she died for the greater good and for his son. She was that terror professor in college that scares the shit out of you but is able to bring out the best in you.
She’s that good.
FINISH THE SERIES! It took me a year to finish it (because of distraction from other books). But I finished this book in ONE DAY! It’s that good!
“Na razrusha’ya. I am not ruined. E’ya razrushost. I am ruination.”
“They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things-if love can ever be called that.”
“I’m the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does.”
“Suffering is cheap as clay and twice as common. What matters is what each man makes of it.”
“The names they gave were false ones, though the vows they made were true.”