If you enjoyed Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, you will love this cracking wrap-up to a brilliant YA fantasy trilogy.
If you haven’t yet started the trilogy, don’t read this review – even the blurb has spoilers for the earlier books – instead, head over here to my review of book 1 (formerly known as The Gathering Dark in the UK, then changed to match the US title when the movie rights sold.)
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.
Here’s my initial ‘review’ on closing the book (fangirly gush more like..): What an amazing ride the Grisha series has been! Brilliant, classic high fantasy on one hand and yet unique and unpredictable on the other. So many twists that I did not in the slightest see coming, and which developed or resolved situations perfectly. Genius storytelling revealing complete mastery of poor defenceless reader emotions as well as fabulous world-building and skillful character development. Such a satisfying ending too – no mean feat to pull off, but she did it. If you’re hesitating to finish this trilogy for fear it could let you down, stop messing about right now and get on with it
I have little to add to this really (and am trying to allow myself to write shorter reviews these days anyway). I am quite picky abut endings; I like things to be completed (except in a few cases where the whole narrative has been about gaps and unreliability – that’s a different thing, but cheating and not telling me what happens, that I tend not to forgive). Although not an ending I could have predicted until I was right on top of it, Ruin and Rising closes the trilogy perfectly, leaving me (and, no doubt, many other Grisha fans) satisfied and grateful.
As with the earlier Grisha books, I enjoyed reading from Alina’s viewpoint and seeing her character development, as well as that of the other characters around her. I also think that it is a real gift to be able to enjoy a great, sweeping romance set against the backdrop of an epic fantasy without my feminist sensibilities being prickled. Yes, there is a (gorgeous) romance thread, but that is neither the point of the plot nor Alina’s priority. She struggles with her feelings, which are often conflicted, (and tested most cruelly) but this is ultimately a ‘chosen one’ type quest and her responsibilities as hero are far more important than her personal feelings. Love is not an end in itself but a part of the complexity of her life, which feels right. I said something similar about the start of this trilogy, and it is definitely an important aspect of the series for me which has been maintained throughout.
Clearly, I am absolutely recommending this series and was delighted to hear the news that Leigh Bardugo has signed with Indigo for more novels, which will also be set in the Grishaverse.