Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

ruin and rising goodreads cover

(cover/synopsis from

By: Leigh Bardugo

Publication: June 17th, 2014

Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis: 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.

I can’t believe it’s over. I can’t believe the ending. I can’ believe a lot of things right now, and I’m not really sure if I hated Ruin and Rising or if I loved it. Maybe a bit of both. The writing is still it’s same, beautiful self, but the plot? That’s where a love/hate Taylor Swift song comes to mind and helps me describe my feelings.

Speaking of Taylor Swift, her song, “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together” pretty much works for this book: on and off again. So, I’m filling this review with T.S. gifs. Hope you have as much fun with them as I did.

On = a reaction like this:

image  0image

Because the off is super terrible:


And when you get an “on” you’re very happy, because the “offs” are just that bad.

Yes, thank you Miss Swift.

So, Ruin and Rising (especially towards the end) = off, on, off, on, off, on. I’m trying to write a spoiler free review, but it’s almost impossible.

I’ll tell you this: 2 people are stabbed, all three of Alina’s love interests (Mal, The Darkling, and Nikkolai) have some pretty terrible stuff happen to them, and I was tempted to call Alina “The Ruiner” because of the greed she has, and the terrible, awful thing she does to Mal. I honestly even wonder if they can be considered lovers.

Fine, I’ll include the spoiler. Scroll past the brackets if you don’t want to know.

She stabs Mal. For power. Because he’s the third amplifier. Who does that?? Who stabs their lover/best friend? If I were Mal, I’d be very angry with Alina, heck I wouldn’t even let her near me. But of course, because of  “luv” he doesn’t care and actually asks Alina to stab him. Geez, dude, get a life. You can be creative and find another way to defeat The Darkling without anyone dying like that. And what is the amplifier? Does she take his bones or something?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry or throw the book at the wall. Really, Leigh Bardugo? And how everything ended? It was almost too easy. Too easy for Alina. Why did Mal even have to sacrifice what he did if he was just going to come back anyways?


Mal was so devoted to Alina, it got annoying. She’s treated him pretty badly, yet, she’s like his Queen. I understand that you guys are in love and all, but were some of the cheesy “I will love you forever” and “I only have eyes for you” really necessary all the time?

On a positive note, Ruin and Rising was still filled with it’s usual wit and loveable characters (even if I’m mad at Alina and Mal at the moment).

During R&R, I felt that all of the characters came together. We have David, Genya, Zoya as some of the older ones, but new ones like Misha and Adreik were amazing too. Everyone put aside their fights and grudges (*cough* *cough* Zoya and Alina) and worked, fought, and laughed together. That was nice to see.


“Everyone okay?” Mal asked.

“Never better,” Genya replied shakily.

David raised his hand. “I’ve been better.”

We all started laughing.

~pg 95

I liked how Leigh Bardugo made The Darkling seem more human at the end. He didn’t want to be alone. He wanted Alina to be his equal, to share his terrifying want for power.

Alina was like: 

I partially wish she would’ve showed The Darkling mercy. I do understand why she did what she did at the end, but I feel that they could’ve compromised. Or at least talked some stuff out without having a full-blown war.

Summing It Up: Even with the ending, I really do recommend the Grisha Trilogy. It’s full of beautiful, atmospheric writing and extremely loveable characters. Shadow and Bone is being made into a movie, so I believe the two other books will follow.

My Rating: 3.5 – 4 stars.




Gif sources (all found from Google images):

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