Book Review: Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Posted 09/09/2014 by alicemarvels in Fantasy
Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo review




Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Page Count: 417


Alina and Mal grow tremendously; fantastic supporting characters; satisfying ending


the ending seemed a bit safe; I was rarely surprised by the plot

A satisfying, if safe, ending to the Grisha series.

I am well aware that my expectations were too high going into Ruin & Rising, so my satisfaction with the Grisha series finale after turning the final pages is somewhat of a surprise. While the finale has its faults, it is certainly beautifully written (as is every book and novella in this series), and an undoubtable page turner.

We’ve seen Alina and Mal grow tremendously since we first met them in Shadow & Bone, and never have they been more deserving of their starring roles than they are in Ruin & Rising. Mal finally stopped annoying the everloving saints out of me, and has returned to the same affectionate corner of my heart he’d carved out in Shadow & Bone (then vacated in Siege & Storm). Alina has uncovered the inner strength required to bear the powerful burden of being the only grisha powerful enough to stop the Darkling, and all her energy is pouring into protecting Ravka and its people. Her heart and her own life are secondary concerns, and I can’t help but appreciate the long emotional journey of this ordinary mapmaker orphan turned superheroine. The supporting characters again shine so brightly they steal the show, and I had a particular love for Zoya, Baghra, Genya and David as they played their parts in this story, staying ever true to themselves even in the face of a Darklingpocalypse.

Without spoiling major events, I can say that I predicted many of the routes the plot took, and while they led to a satisfying, crowd-pleasing ending, I can’t help but wish Bardugo had been a bit more daring in her treatment of her characters. I’m not really sure there ever was a legitimate love triangle, but there will still be fans who will be heartbroken about their ship sinking (though it’s nothing a tumblr binge can’t cure). I don’t mind the way the romance played out, and I certainly had my share of feels for Alina, Mal, Nikolai and the Darkling as they were each put through the ringer emotionally. While I can’t help but smile at the epilogue of Ruin & Rising, it had the same effect the Harry Potter ending had on me-like I may have OD’d on HEA. Nevertheless, I’m very happy with the last book in this series, and I look forward to seeing what Bardugo has planned next in the Grishaverse.

Watch the trailer:

Read an excerpt:

Ruin and Rising: Chapter 1 by Macmillan Publishers



    Sorry you werent ever hugely surprised but the character growth sounds great


    It seems to me that I’m the only one who didn’t predict this ending. I was really left speechless at the end. I’m so happy you enjoyed this one and yeah it was such an amazing read. Great review 🙂


    I only read the first book but I did love it. I so need to get caught up and read the last two.


    I still need to read this, I meant to do it this summer, but alas…. Anyway, I have a feeling I know how the romance is going to go down and all that, but still, I am interested to see how it all ends.


    I still need to read this one. It has been checked out all summer long and it is still popular. I think I’ll wait until Winter Break. I’m thrilled about the character growth though a bit bummed about the lack of plot surprises.


    Oh did the first on audio and now I need to do the other 2 on audio as well. I can deal with a safe ending and predictable turns as long as I do get my HEA. I might also wish that she took a much more interesting route, but it still sounds like a satisfying ending. I can deal. 🙂


    It sounds you like the book was a little predictable to you, and while I don’t usually like when that happens, this is the Grisha trilogy! I still need to read RUIN & RISING, and I’m excited, but the HEA… I want it and don’t want it at the same time. I’m evil, aren’t I? 😛


    I absolutely loved this book, especially the prologue which just made me grin like a fool. I won’t deny that it is a bit safe–no major character deaths–but sometimes those are the best ones, I find. Lovely review, Alice! 🙂


    The second book to this series left me a little dissatisfied. And it sounds like the third one isn’t as awesome as the first book. :/


    “and has returned to the same affectionate corner of my heart he’d carved out in Shadow & Bone (then vacated in Siege & Storm)”

    Oh yes. Mal vacated that corner of my heart in Siege & Storm as well! *shakes fist at him* Glad to to see he won you back over in this final installment, I can’t wait for him to do the same with me! Despite some events taking a predictable course, I’m glad you were satisfied overall with how Alina’s story wrapped up!


    I think you’re right — the ending was a bit safe (especially since I wasn’t the biggest fan of who she ended up with anyway) but it was also satisfying. Beautifully written and I loved the setting.


    I’m glad you liked this one despite feeling like it was predictable and that the ending was safe. I actually liked the ending and I’m not going to lie, I relished the fact that it was a safe ending. As you may know, I dislike non-HEAs so much, so I was glad that this left me with happy feels.
    Great review!


    I’m actually a little happy to hear that it’s a safe ending xD I was really worried because this series is a favorite of mine. “Mal finally stopped annoying the everloving saints out of me.” THANK. GOSH. He annoyed me so much in the second book too, so glad to know he grows as a character.


    I was really happy with this book and thought it hit the right balance of happy and sad.


    I think the second book was probably my favorite because it DID surprise me where this one did not, but I still enjoyed this novel as a whole. I’m glad for the character growth in this installment, as well, because I wasn’t sure I’d ever have understood what everyone saw in Mal otherwise. 😛

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