Series: The Grisha #3
Published by Macmillan on June 17, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
I remember very well the moment that I read the last page of Shadow and Bone. I remember because I was devastated that I had to wait for book two! Then, of course, I felt the pain again when I finished Siege and Storm. There aren’t many books whose release date I put on my calendar so that I can download it the moment I wake up, but Ruin and Rising has made that list with honors. I was thrilled to dive back in to the world of Alina and Mal, of The Darkling and STURMHOND (his name must always be in caps, sorry). There were definitely people in this series that I grew to hate with that special kind of hate reserved for the most evil of book villains, but in Ruin and Rising I found myself utterly pulled into their humanity in a way that took my breath away. Those that you thought to be comic relief will grow into leaders with emotional struggles and hollow paces that only makes them more real. There is loss in this book, of course, and while sad, it isn’t without reason. The story is well paced and everything that happens seems as if it belongs there, as if nothing else would have fit in its place. Even in the twistiest of spots, of which there are many, I never felt confused, only thrilled to be reading such an amazing story.
I’ve been disappointed by more than one “epic” conclusion to a YA series in the past year, but rest assured that Ruin & Rising lived up to, and exceeded, every single one of my expectations. I experienced every conceivable emotion while reading this book; it was almost unbearably painful in some parts and then almost unbearably happy in others. I continue to recommend this series to readers of all ages without any reservations because of the excellent world building and character development. Now that the series has concluded, I continue to sing its praises, perhaps even more loudly, simply because it was a conclusion that felt complete and right. For me, it hit all the right notes, without one element that seemed off or out of place. That is rare for me, and no small feat considering the scope of this story. If you are hesitant to read Ruin & Rising out of fear that the ending just won’t live up to your expectations, don’t be. You will be sad, of course, but only because it has reached its end.