RUIN AND RISING (The Grisha #3) - by Leigh Bardugo

RUIN AND RISING - Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2014 - Henry Holt and Company.
Pages: 432.
Genres: Young adult / romance / epic fantasy / magic
Source: eBook from a friend.
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.

← Shadow and Bone (the Grisha #1)
← Siege and Storm (the Grisha #2) 

I buddy read this book with the wonderful Di @ Book Reviews By Di and the awesome Uma @ Books.Bags.Burgers. We all ended up loving the book and having similar sentiments, so that made this one of the best buddy-reads we've ever had. It was awesome to fangirl and scream and rejoice and have our hearts broken together ;)
Check out Di's review HERE and Uma's review HERE!!

Uptil now, I wasn't loving the Grisha trilogy. I was finding it unremarkable, rather boring, and completely mediocre.
But this book seemed to have come from another author entirely: the real Bardugo, the genius Bardugo, the Bardugo that blew my mind with the brilliance of Six of Crows. This final book absolutely won me over.

“Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what's inside you? That's steel. It's brave and unbreakable. And it doesn't need fixing.”

“He watches her the way Harshaw watches fire. Like he’ll never have enough of her. Like he’s trying to capture what he can before she’s gone.”

Everything flies to a whole new level in Ruin and Rising. The plot's extremely unpredictable, the dialogue's rich, profound, and witty, and there are so many amazing, strong, poetic scenes that if this had been a movie I would've called it "excellent directing." I especially love the scene where Alina and all her girl friends come together on the ship and start discussing the clothes Alina's been given to wear. It's such a beautiful scene because it gives us a powerful sense of humanness and friendship; between the girls, which we haven't seen much of.

The story's fast-paced and never boring. The plot's tighter, motivations clearer, and the frequent action comes thick and sharp. Every aspect is heightened to a new level of genius, and I was desperate to keep reading.

“You are all I’ve ever wanted,” he said. “You are the whole of my heart.”

“Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.”

“They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things-if love can ever be called that.”

The characters improve drastically. There's some incredible character development for particularly Alina, Mal, and Genya, and fantastic friendships and relationships are formed between the huge cast of characters. I loved Alina's squad/gang, and I adored the interactions between everyone. Personalities spring vividly to the surface, and everyone just becomes so much more defined.
Alina's a truly wonderful heroine, and it's in this book that I really found myself rooting for her. She's so incredibly human, and looking back over the previous books I can now fully appreciate her amazing growth. 
I also loved the way the romance went: unpredictable, realistic, and satisfying. Mal and Alina grow so much throughout the novel, and it's wonderful to see their relationship develop as well.

I finally, finally, finally, fell in love with Nikolai. I'd remained unconvinced of his brilliance and charm until a certain point early in the book where I just couldn't resist him anymore. So fangirls, I'm afraid there's more competition. But boy does Nikolai deserve it ;)

I almost want to say skip the first two books and just read Ruin and Rising, which isn't a good plan because then you'd be totally lost. But this book is so much better than the others, in every aspect, and it's almost worth sticking through the previous books to get to this sparkling and exhilarating gem.


  1. So glad this one was a hit for you and that the trilogy ended even stronger than it started! I really hope to read this before the end of the year. Great review, Amy!

    1. Thanks Tanya, I'm so glad too! And yes, I hope you get to read it soon and LOVE it :)
      Thank you!

  2. This was a amazing buddy read! I'm glad you love Nikolai too now Amy :)

  3. It's always bittersweet to read the ending of a series and that's how I felt when I was reading this conclusion. Yes, the characters have developed a lot, and it's impossible to predict what will happen in the end! I was satisfied though. I'm looking forward to going on to read the duology now.

    1. The duology is AMAZING!! Hope you LOVE that!

  4. This book is my favorite of the entire trilogy! In fact it's my favorite book of all time, as of right now. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it as well.

    Great review!
    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. Yay I'm so glad! Haha nice :)
      Thanks Brittany!