From Goodreads: 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.
My Rating: Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 hearts
*Despite trying my best to avoid overt spoilers in my review (which I've hidden), I'd suggest reading the following review with caution if you haven't read Ruin and Rising because it still alludes to things.*
Thoughts on the Novel: Though it took me a while to get around to reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising, it was one of my most anticipated reads of this year because I’d finally know the ultimate fates of the Darkling and Nikolai (and Alina and Mal, of course). It’s too bad then that Ruin and Rising wasn’t exactly the ending I wanted.
While the plot began nicely with Alina, Mal, and the other Grisha trying to escape from the Apparat's clutches so that they could engage in one last confrontation with the Darkling, I soon became a little bored because the story wasn’t as intense as I was expecting it to be. As well, there was a strong focus on a bunch of secondary characters, most of whom I didn’t really remember. Thankfully, one of those characters was Zoya, who I not only ended up liking, but also made up for the distinct lack of the Darkling with her witty lines.
Speaking of the Darkling, as much as I would have liked a different ending for him, I do think that the ending he got was probably the most appropriate for him. Over the course of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, all I wanted to do was give him a hug in spite of his villainy because Bardugo did such a fabulous job of making him so complex. Ruin and Rising finally revealed the Darkling and Baghra’s backstory, which just made me fall in love with him even more. I refuse to say goodbye to him!
Another character who didn’t escape unscathed was Nikolai. I wasn’t expecting what happened to him to occur, but I think it helps to make him an even better ruler for Ravka – not that I didn’t know that after the scene with his parents.
I wasn't too happy with the endings for Alina and Mal, however. As the series progressed, Bardugo had slowly transformed Alina into a stronger heroine; but I thought Ruin and Rising kind of ruined all that development. Perhaps it was the best fate for Alina, but as a reader, I felt like Ruin and Rising was saying that you shouldn't strive to be extraordinary.
A book that might not please everybody but was still entertaining, Ruin and Rising was released in June 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
Comments About the Cover: It perfectly matches the covers of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm!