Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

3:00 PM

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Rating: ★★★★★

I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.

Admittedly, Ruin and Rising started off a bit slower than the previous installments in the trilogy. Bardugo doesn't let the pace slack for long though and once it really kicks into gear? BOOM. I'm blown away once more. Ruin and Rising is that perfect combination of romance, action, darkness and fantasy. It is everything I wanted from the conclusion and then some.

While my favourite in the series remains to be the second book, it's still a fantastic novel and positively brilliant. I know that a lot of people weren't altogether keen on the endgames in this novel but I loved that Leigh Bardugo took a path a little less unknown when it comes to, ah, unhealthy relationships in YA literature. You know who I'm talking about--I've been pretty vocal about my general dislike of one relationship and love of another.

I was pretty surprised that the novel went the way I wanted it to. As always, Alina is fantastic and just what I want from my main characters.

She is strong, sassy and has that dash of vulnerability that keeps her real. Her development has been so fantastic to watch because it's like watching your very best friend grow into a badass adult. I know that sounds dumb but that's my number one thought. I loved witnessing her journey and can honestly say that I'm so proud of her.

So, to avoid spoilers, I'm going to sum up my thoughts on some other plot points rather vaguely:

  • The novel needed more Nikolai. Listen, I'm not saying he wasn't present--but he wasn't present as much as I wanted him to be. This is entirely because I'm obsessed with him. I'd apologize but I really don't do the shame thing. It's not my bag. Aside from Alina, he is probably my absolute favourite character and I'm definitely swooning over him as we speak. I think I read that he was getting his own spin-off and I'm telling you guys, I'm running to the bookstore the day it's released and you'll know it's me by the trail of fire I leave behind. 
  • Darkling remains a fascinating character but still a creep that I would never, ever, EVER, ship Alina with. "I will strip away all that you know, all that you love, until you have no shelter but mine." #ROMANTIC #BARF. I still don't quite see his appeal beyond a fascinating villain that you want to know more about because they just get under your skin but, eh. Fandom really does the most when it comes to romanticizing him and his actions. His endgame is exactly what needed to happen. I loved it. And I loved that we got to know his name--and how Alina approached the endgame. 
  • Zoya! I loved her in this go. I enjoyed the little group that formed between Alina, Zoya, Tamar and Nadia. Talk about squad goals. 
  • There's some losses but it doesn't necessarily feel like much beyond background noise. The impact is minimal. 
  • I thought the story ended exactly where it needed to. It was a very coherent end to the general plots of destruction we came to know. I enjoyed how the narration at the beginning and end of every book felt the way that it did. It's atmospheric. It's dark. It's reminiscent of fairy-tales in tone without being one. 
Overall, I really enjoyed Ruin and Rising and can't stress how fantastic this trilogy was. While this is my least favourite of the three books, I adored it nonetheless and can't picture a better ending to this story. Great world-building, delicious characters and a whole lot of spine-chilling action. It's worth the hype! 

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