Book Review: RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Series: Yes - book 3

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for the previous books in the series*


ruin and rising

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add it to your shelves here. Find on Amazon UK, the Book Depository, and UK (affiliate links.)


And the original Grisha Trilogy comes to an end. I love this ending – particularly how there are such stakes, personal and global. The sacrifices required are heartbreaking. The sacrifices for the final amplifier is a brilliant piece of story telling, with all the hints sewn.

Bardugo follows through on the stakes she’s established and it makes the ending so satisfying because it’s been earned and yet acknowledges the toll taken on them all. She does not shy away from the lives lost. The final showdown is tense and emotional with Alina’s arc coming to its climax right as the story does, both conflicts interwoven. It’s a masterful command of writing craft.

Mal and Alina’s relationship has it’s up and downs, but the angst is far less (phew). They’re talking, and making decision. They’re not the best (but they’re humans like us), but they’re actually being proactive in their relationship rather than moping and sulking. It’s far more engaging this way and I was actually rooting for them this time.

Of course, Nikolai steals the scenes he’s in. The vulnerable side of him is explored more, and Bardugo puts him through a lot. After everything he goes through, I’m so excited for KING OF SCARS to see how he’s coping – and what’ll happen to Ravka after this civil war.

If Nikolai isn’t there to steal the limelight, Genya and David do. Genya facing the King is so satisfying, and David’s constant inability to understand jokes is painfully funny, because he’s me. I’m also the one explaining why the lake is that colour or babbling over alkaloids.

And now for the Six of Crows duology!

Read my reviews of other books by Leigh Bardugo:

For Young Adult:

The GrishaVerse (this series):

DC Icons:

For Adult:

Alex Stern:

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