Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
|Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: An excellent end to one of the best trilogies I've read for a while. Hugely enjoyable reading, and excellent narrated in audiobook. A satisfying end that will leave you hoping this isn't the last you'll read about Ravka and the Grisha.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: June 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner, has fallen. In her confrontation with the Darkling, she called on forbidden powers. Not only did she nearly die, but she didn't succeed in stopping him. Now he sits on Ravka's throne, ruling the country through fear, while she wastes away underground, weakened, and far from the light that would strengthen her.
Alina faces an impossible decision. To stop the Darkling, she needs Morozova's third amplifier, the firebird. But to claim it, she needs to take the life of one more of Ravka's ancient and powerful creatures. And doing so could push her to become every bit as bad as the Darkling himself.
But war is coming, and Alina's beloved Ravka needs her. With the Darkling using the fold to subdue anyone who rises against him, Alina knows she has to do what she can to become strong enough to stop him. But what will she have to sacrifice?
Trilogy endings are naturally divisive things. No matter what writers do, they aren't able to satisfy everyone. Bardugo courts this problem more than most, with three potential suitors for her protagonist, Alina. And there's such good characterisation throughout, it's easy to see why people root for each one of them - flamboyant and charming Nikolai, steadfast and dependable Mal and the dangerous but alluring Darkling.
It's testament to Bardugo's writing talent that she's able to keep the Darkling walking a line between pure evil and 'one right decision from redemption.' He should be absolutely reprehensible, but for everything bad he does, you get a glimpse of a side of him that's looking to do the right thing, even if he has lost sight of what 'right' is. He's a really compelling character, and best of all, he brought out an interesting side in Alina. Her interactions with him in this instalment showed her as powerful and strong - grown from the manipulated little girl she was in the first book.
I also liked that Nikolai finally faced some consequences this book. He had a few too many daring and lucky escapes up til now, which made him feel a little untouchable. Writer's loving their characters too much can be the death of a good storyline, but Bardugo proves ruthless in her treatment of him, and it made the book all the stronger for it.
And the ending - though it won't be everyone's cup of tea, I thought it was perfect. Despite one big 'happy' part, it was bittersweet enough to avoid becoming saccharine. Things were wrapped up enough without it being too tidy and convenient. It left me hoping there would be more, but I won't be dissatisfied if there isn't.
The audiobook production was excellent. Lauren Fortgang does a brilliant job of bringing the wide range of characters to life. From Zoya's haughtiness to the Darkling's soft dangerousness, every character is perfectly done. I highly recommend listening to the entire series.
Overall, an excellent end to one of the best trilogies I've read for a while. Hugely enjoyable reading.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
Fans of this series might enjoy Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo at Amazon.com.