Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo: What a Wrap

The weather has not been the greatest lately and I admittedly made a mistake by eating late yesterday which, trust me, I don't plan to redo again in the future no matter how much work needs to be done in the office. I'm staying in bed all day today (after finishing my job's deadline and everything) and in between sleep, a fever that has gradually come down, and a mouthful or two of rice before consuming one tablet of paracetamol, I managed to finish my current read, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, this evening.

Disclaimer: My review for the first book can be found here while you can click here to see my opinion about the second one. Also, please stop scrolling if you haven't read both copies yet.

Following where we left off in Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising starts with the Darkling ruling over Ravka behind his shadow throne. Being oddly protected by the Apparat and surrounded by the zealots who worship her as a Saint, Alina can't do anything while she feels more and more helpless as the days have passed. She still believes that in order to defeat the Darkling, she needs to claim the last amplifier and silently hopes that Nikolai is still alive out there.

Alina then bit by bit uncovers the secret of Morozova's journal and the Darkling. She gradually understands the source of the power they both possess and also the bond between them. Finally, Alina comes to realize that claiming the firebird and saving Ravka might cost her her own future.

Regardless of how slow it first started off, the first few chapters of Ruin and Rising felt as important as it was dark. Bardugo's decision to begin the third installment this way was clever, I think. The tunnels and caverns Alina, Mal, and the rest of the still-alived Grisha had to live in felt suffocating even for me as a reader. I could almost feel Alina's frustration and anger towards the Apparat whom I silently disliked the most in this book.

So when their attempt to flee was a success, I genuinely couldn't be happier. The plot got more and more interesting as the story progressed and so did the characters. Some even developed significantly:

  • Mal who had lost my respect in Siege and Storm regained it back here and was far better.
  • Despite being manipulative and cruel, I couldn't bring myself to hate the Darkling especially after this book. Honestly speaking this was the first time a villain has ever truly attracted me hence I felt a pang of genuine sympathy for him.
  • Not really a much-to-my-surprise moment but I ended up liking Zoya so much.

I didn't prepare myself for the twist and the ending. The first one was pretty unexpected even though looking back I realized that Bardugo didn't drop it out of nowhere (believe it or not, she had thrown in some clues throughout the first two books) while the ending felt realistic despite a little heartbreaking and not so suddenly I felt the need to hug this book tightly. What a ride this last installment had brought me through. As for the man Alina ended up with, I could understand her decision as I would most likely make the same choice if I were her, but there's no denying that I was a tad bit disappointed with the sailed ship for I liked the other ones more as individuals.

All in all, Ruin and Rising was such a great last installment and I know I couldn't think of a better way to end this trilogy withmy only objection was probably my own desperate need to see more of the Darkling and his past. I will definitely pick up King of Scars in the future after completing my mission regarding a Six of Crows reread, hopefully the writing style is as awesome and fun as this.

Actual rating: 4.7

Edit 21/01/21: It’s been a while since I last experienced a book-hangover and I’m pretty positive I’m in one now. I woke up in the middle of the night, effectively causing myself to retrieve the thought of how Alina’s story had ended and I suddenly felt heartbroken all over again. The fact that it was actually realistic made it even worse somehow, because why shouldn’t it? Reality is something we have to face either we like it or not, and like Bardugo said, consequences will always be there regardless of the intentions. That’s why I couldn’t dismiss Alina’s ending easily, which was way logical to the point that it hurt.