Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Posted 3 July, 2014 by Pushy in Blog, Book Review, Bookworms, Featured, Pushy, Pushy Book Review / 9 Comments

I received this book for free from the in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising Series: The Grisha
on June 17, 2014
Pages: 417
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

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.


So, it’s no shocker….I have been FREAKING DYING to read this book!!!!!  I make no secret of my love for the Darkling….and Sturmhound….and Mal.  In that order.  😉  But after the way Siege and Storm ended (HOLY FREAKING MOLEY!!!!) I was ready to beg, borrow and steal to get an ARC of Ruin and Rising.  But….there were no ARCs to be had for this poor little fox…  I know.  Tis sadness.

Then the lovely (and did I mention super smart and well dressed) folks at Macmillian sent me the first few chapters in a teaser pack.  SWEET BABY JESUS!!!  It was like CRACK.  And just a little taste of crack so that I would continue jonesing hard core.  But being back in Alina’s head again… was fabulous.  And being back in the world Leigh Bardugo created?  *ENORMOUS CONTENTED SIGH*  But then….it ended.  And you know what Tom Petty says about the waiting….

So, like a good little addicts, I lined up at my crack-dealers shop, aka Audible, and preordered myself a heaping helping of awesomesauce.  And then, June 17th FINALLY arrived.  And then I had to ignore everyone for about 11 hours, give or take.  Because FINALLY it was time for me to see how Alina’s journey would end.

The Good

Oh…there’s so much that’s good about this book.  I think the thing that struck me most was just how well this book stands up on it’s own.  Third spot in a trilogy is no easy placement.  More like the middle child than the baby in a family, the third book has expectations through the roof and the challenge of wrapping up a story in a satisfying fashion.  For my money, the second book in a trilogy is always the best.  But with Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo hits that sweet spot of giving the reader what they want and giving the story what it needs.  Like a true master of her craft, Leigh Bardugo takes through the last dark night of Alina’s (and her companions’) soul and brings us out on the other side.  Maybe not without a scratch, but still held together and having been made better for the process.

I don’t want to give all the best parts away (especially for Heather who NEEDS to read this series like YESTERDAY!!!!) but this book is so much more than just the third book in a series, it’s deep and powerful and perfectly sublime.

The Bad

So, what’s the bad you say?  Nothing!  Well…Alina’s story is at an end, but I love the way it ends.  Ruin and Rising leaves Alina is a better ending than I could have envisioned for her, even if it’s not the ending I would have asked for.  Still, it would have been unrealistic for her to turn the Darkling into some sort of Prince Charming and live happily ever after with him with sunshine and bunnies and rainbows.  SPOILER ALERT:  that doesn’t happen.  At least not the rainbows part.  🙂

One of the surprising things for me in this book was that I was finally able to put my love for the Darkling to rest and be happy for Alina’s final choice.  I even think she chose wisely.  Sure, part of me wanted the sunshine and bunnies and rainbows.  But really, another part of me knew it was never going to go down that way.  And how it does go down….well, maybe it’s not rainbows….but it’s true, emotionally and to the characters.  Ms. Bardugo took some risks with her characters in this book, she let them suffer and they emerge the more complete for it.

The Ugly

So you may have guessed by now that some ugly things happen in this book.  Which is no shocker, because in the world of the Grisha, some ugly things happen.  And sad things too.  People die.  People are broken….in ways they may not be able to heal.  But trust me when I say, much like the ugliness of what happens to Genya in Seige and Storm makes her even more precious as a character, the same happens to other characters.

Bottom Line

I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to one of my favorite story lines ever.  Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo was simply perfect.  And the only thing this book left me wanting was to know what Leigh Bardugo is working on next!

magic Rating


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Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I'll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I'll listen forever.



9 Responses to “Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo”

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  2. It was SO WELL DONE, wasn’t it? One of the best series endings I’ve read in a while. Yeah, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns but it worked perfectly with the storyline and world. I’m with you: *contented sigh*
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    Pushy 7/4/2014

    Oh, Mary!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!!!!! *hugs*
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  3. THIS BOOK! The ugly is what killed me – I needed a few minutes after I finished the epilogue. But all the rest was so perfect <3 I agree with you – I think Alina chose well, and I ship it so hard. Now I just need another book to find out what happens to everyone else.
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    Pushy 7/4/2014

    Oh, agreed! Who would you want to know about most? I think I’d love to hear more from Sturmhound’s perspective.
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    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives 7/4/2014

    I agree with you – I felt like all the characters had a pretty conclusive ending in the epilogue, but there was a bit more vagueness than I would have liked for Sturmhond. But maybe that’s because he’s my favorite and I’d love to read an entire series about him 😉
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  4. I’m reading the review and just thinking “wow, I need to read this soon” and by the time I get to reading the comments I’m just like “OMMGG WHY AREN’T YOU IN MY LIFE?!” This always happens to me. I wait months for a book to come out and then when it comes out, I don’t have time to read it. I really really want to find out what this ending is though! I’m all for perfect endings. 😀
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