Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Review)

The Grisha #3
Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication.Date:June 17, 2014
Pages:417 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Henry Holt and Co.
Website:Leigh Bardugo 

Ruin & Rising on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

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. (Goodreads)

"War is the price of change."

"And it's ordinary people who pay it, peasants like me. Never men like you."
I might not be a threat, but I could become one. I wouldn't let him beat me before I'd had a chance to give him the fight he deserved.
I was impressed, but also unnerved. Being around Nikolai was always like this, watching him shift and change, revealing secrets as he went. He reminded me of the wooden nesting dolls I'd played with as child. Except instead of getting smaller, he just kept getting grander and more mysterious. Tomorrow he'd probably tell me he'd built a pleasure palace on the moon. Tough to get it, but quite a view.
Na razrusha’ya. I am not ruined. E’ya razrushost. I am ruination.
If he could, I knew the Darkling would use the people against me, but it had never occurred to him that they might be more than liabilities. Maybe he'd underestimated them, and maybe he'd underestimated me too.

It was stupid. It was dangerous. But Ana Kuya used to tell me that hope was tricky like water. Somehow it always found a way in.

I don't normally read books in one day. I don't. It's just not my thing. Usually life gets in the way and that's fine. With Ruin and Rising, I made an exception. I didn't get this novel on released day. Barnes & Noble took their good sweet time getting it to me - about a week - and I didn't have time to read it that weekend, or the one after that, or the one after that.

My first plan free weekend wasn't until July 4th, not including the 4th anyway, and it was a three day weekend. I'm not going to lie, I was scared to start it. I'd had three weeks of seeing tweets about the hangovers and the tears, not to mention it being a series ending book and I always drag my feet on those. So around 1:30 on Saturday the 5th, I finally "forced" myself to start reading it. Joe was well aware of my plan to finish it that weekend - no way was I going to work Monday with the fate of Ravka hanging in the balance.

He taunted me with the fact that there was no way I was going to finish it that weekend when I was starting at 1:30pm on Saturday. Well . . . I finished this baby at 11:30pm Saturday night. So suck on that Joe.

Seriously, I could not put Ruin and Rising down. Leigh has given her fans one of the most amazing series ending books I have ever come across. There are no breaks. No perfect "Okay, I think I'll start dinner now" moments. Not only do you not want to put it down, you can't. It's impossible! There was one very distinct moment, and I cannot say when because hello HUGE spoiler, where I knew I wasn't finishing this book on Sunday unless it was the wee hours of Sunday morning, and it would be finished today. I will tell you it was around page 250, about 59% into the book.

Alina's character has made such a transformation from herself in Shadow and Bone. Even The Darkling makes note of it when he makes a sex joke and she dishes it right back when two novels ago she would have blushed and looked away. Speaking of The Darkling - we learn is name! You know Leigh is definitely going to tie up all loose ends when she reveals even that smallest detail.

There are so few Grisha left for Alina after the events of Siege and Storm, but this small group (we're talking 12 people) ban together in such an amazing way to stand against The Darkling and his cruelty. Considering the number of characters Leigh has to work with, each and every one of them stand on their own two feet. Their personalities never blend into one another and they don't come across as one secondary blob. A true testament to Leigh's writing ability.

It's not just characters though. She does an amazing job with descriptions, scenery, Alina's internal thoughts. Nothing about Ruin and Rising comes across as a 417 page novel. You can't escape her beautiful writing and the real world doesn't bleed through while you're reading either.

I'm not really going to touch on the romance, there is such a huge divide in this series that I know people will be pissed, pleased, and contented. Not many people are able to pull having more than one love interest, but it's real and logical in The Grisha. There is no "clear choice" or a guy thrown in there just to make things interesting. Leigh did a wonderful job with her love quadrangle, simple as that.

To boil this rather long review down, Ruin and Rising is a beautiful ending to a beautiful series. The writing is fantastic, the continuously developing characters lovable, and the plot simply amazing. I was already a fan of Leigh's halfway through Shadow and Bone, but knowing that she can end a series just as well as she can start a series has sky rocketed her to a position on my top authors list. Now, if only she would make a tour stop that's within a reasonable distance to me, I'd be one happy girl.

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