Book Review: Ruin and Rising

14061957Leigh Bardugo created a series unlike anything I have read with the Grisha series (Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising). I fell in love with these books the very first time I read them. They were exciting, different and powerful. There is love, mystery, magic and a fully-developed world where some people are born with extraordinary power. Some wield it for good, some for evil. And, among them all walks Alina, the Sun Summoner – powerful, unique and the one on whom an entire world rests.

Ruin and Rising is the conclusion of this series. If you haven’t read the first two books, go read those, then read this one, then read the review. Alina has faced the Darkling – and lost. She knows now what she must do, but the cost may be too much to bear. Bardugo creates a powerful tension in Alina as she realizes the true strength of her power, and what finally finding the last piece of the puzzle could do to her. She sees a little of the Darkling in herself as she obsesses over making her power stronger. But, she also sees herself in Nikolai (the man who would be king), Mal (the man she would love) and the rest of her fellow Grisha. She knows that they’re depending on her, and she knows that to do what she must will change everything.

I have loves this series from the beginning. It defies genres and expectations as readers learn about the magic that controls Alina’s world, the seductive power of the Darkling, and the belief that there is something bigger at stake than just who is ruling at the end of the day. Ruin and Rising does not disappoint, with more action than the previous books, and a crisp, quick storyline that doesn’t fall victim to too much exposition or explanation. Bardugo assumes that you know her characters by now; she doesn’t rehash the details. So, if it’s been awhile since you read the first two books, you may want to familiarize yourself before you read too far into this one. As the story reaches it’s conclusion, I was both shocked and satisfied with the turns that Bardugo took to bring Alina’s story to an end.