April 10, 2015

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

"I'm the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does."

The Book Rest - Book Review for Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoTitle: Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
Author: Leigh Bardgo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: A
Recommended For: Fans of The Young Elites, Throne of Glass, Red Queen
Source: Library hardcover copy

One-sentence review: This gripping and satisfying conclusion is something you cannot miss and will have you on the edge of your seat as Alina and her surviving group of misfit Grisha (along with Mal), search for the last magnifier, their only hope of destroying the Darkling. 

TBR It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm

While the final installment of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series did not start off as quick and bold as I had hoped, I promise Ruin and Rising gets on track and delivers a story you can't miss. The story continues much like Siege and Storm started: with Alina and Mal running from the Darkling. Only this time they're part of a team, they have a goal and... oh yeah, they're not quite as romantically inclined (I'm not going to lie, I've been Team Nikolai ever since Bardugo gave us the impression of a YA love triangle, so I wasn't as disheartened by that as most).

The theme of teamwork continues to be present throughout this series and only gains momentum in this conclusion. Alina not only gains trust in others, but she learns to trust in herself. Furthermore, forgiveness is a much more prominent theme in this book: Mal and Alina's forgiveness of each other, Alina's forgiveness of Genya, Alina's forgiveness to herself, and even forgiveness for the Darkling. This element is important because love, mercy and forgiveness prevent Alina from using her power to become like the Darkling. There are elements of trust and forgiveness throughout.

Alina in general is a symbol of light, hope, and positive changes in her world despite her not always feeling like she's fully "good." This emphasizes Alina's many layers of humanity; despite being one of the most powerful Grisha in existence, Alina is still human and maintains such flaws. Conversely, the Darkling represents the dark, but he's also not "all bad". In this book we find remnants of his humanity, especially when he tells Alina his name. The dynamic between Alina and the Darkling surprised me in this book; it gave this series a level of depth that I wasn't necessarily expecting. The Darkling is much more multi-dimensional than your stock villain which emphasizes the idea throughout this series that nothing is black-and-white, or rather dark-and-light.

I must admit, I had some issues with the climax of this book; I was a little disappointed at how the fantasy element was used to solve difficult problems. However, given the ultimate conclusion, I suppose I am satisfied. Bardugo definitely does not leave any loose threads to this finely woven story, the reader won't wonder what happened to anybody. Which makes me very curious to read her next series, Six of Crows, which apparently takes place in the Grisha world years after Ruin and Rising ends. If this series is any indicator, I will follow Leigh Bardugo's stories wherever they will take me!

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