Hello! I do my best to keep reviews spoiler free and if they do contain spoilers, I would have a disclaimer. There are no Ruin and Rising spoilers written in this review, but since it is the last novel in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, there may be spoilers for the previous books (Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm). You can see my full review of the other books in this trilogy here.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
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.
If you’ve been reading my reviews since December, you will know that I have had a rollercoaster experience with this trilogy. The first novel (Shadow and Bone) was just your typical cookie-cutter YA fantasy. Siege and Storm was an upsetting waste of dead trees. Ruin and Rising was the perfect blend of the two. There was your classic second-hand embarrassment scene you get from YA novels, and then there was the waste of time scenes where the entire plan fell apart and you’re back at square one. Although this probably doesn’t sound good so far, it surprisingly worked. I had to chuck my copy of Ruin and Rising across the room a few times and at the same time I had to marvel at how well Leigh Bardugo saved the trilogy from becoming a train wreck. The plot was thankfully saved and the writing definitely improved. You got to see more facets of the characters and actually feel attached to them. Another thing that I enjoyed about this novel was the ending. The author didn’t go with some outlandish happily ever after where everything is concluded in the most ideal way. Somehow this ending felt real and relatable even if it is taking place in a world where people can control fire and wind with their hands. Although I was confused and a little mad by the entirety of the second book, I can easily admit that looking back I enjoyed this trilogy.
Every character grew on me in this novel. Nikolai wasn’t so outrageous and even Mal isn’t so dislikable in my mind now. Once again, the author saved the series and the characters by making them more intricate and less fairytale-like.
I am so happy we got to see more of David, Genya, and Zoya in this novel. These three were amazing and it was awesome to see them in more of the spotlight instead of the background. In the novel, there is eventually a group of friends that is formed with Alina and I loved seeing them interact. There are definitely subtle similarities with this group and the Crows’ (Six of Crows’) dynamic.
In the end, Ruin and Rising is my favorite novel from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. This was a good conclusion to the series with a satisfying ending and that also redeemed a lot of the characters. Although I will always be a Six of Crows person, I would definitely recommend this novel to lovers of YA fantasy.
This cover design is by Natalie C. Sousa and Ellen Duda.
- Have you read the Shadow and Bone trilogy?
- If so, which novel was your favorite?
- Do you prefer Six of Crows or Shadow and Bone?