Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆  Goodreads 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.

Commentary: spoilers.gif

Wow, I can’t believe I finished the Grisha Trilogy! Many people I follow on Goodreads did not like this book, but I really liked it! I thought it was well done, but there where some minor issues here and there. Each book was terrific! I liked the first book, loved the second book, and this last book was satisfying. There were many parts of the book  that I loved! I ended up flagging most of Nikolai’s parts because he has the best lines in the book, seriously. You have been warned, my review will have many spoilers! If you haven’t read the last book, please don’t read this review!

Now what I loved about the book was that finally reader’s got to know the Darkling’s backstory. Since the first book, I wanted to know what his life was like, and what made him become that way. Though, I am not fully satisfied with his story. I also appreciated that Baghra revealed her past as well. At first, I thought that Morozova might have been the Darkling’s father, but he’s not. In fact, he is the Darkling’s grandfather.

I also loved the side characters especially Genya. I loved the scene where the King tries to accuse her of treason, but she stands up for herself. She is definitely one of the characters that I loved from the start. She proved that she could be a badass:

Na razrusha’ya. I am not ruined. E’ya razrushost. I am ruination.

I was so happy that she and David finally got together. I was rooting for her happiness the whole time. I loved that Genya had her happily ever after.

I loved the Alina and Nikolai moments in this book. I got so excited when Nikolai showed up in the book!

“Being around Nikolai was always like this, watching him shift and change, revealing secrets as he went. He reminded me of the wooden nesting dolls I’d played with as a child. Except instead of getting smaller, he just kept getting grander and more mysterious.”

I just love the way he showed up in the book:

“I saw the prince when I was in Os Alta,” said Ekaterina. “He’s not bad looking.”
“Not bad looking?” said another voice. “He’s damnably handsome.”
Luchenko scowled. “Since when—”
“Brave in battle, smart as a whip.” Now the voice seemed to be coming from above us. Luchenko craned his neck, peering into the trees. “An excellent dancer,” said the voice. “Oh, and an even better shot.”
“Who—” Luchenko never got to finish. A blast rang out, and a tiny black hole appeared between his eyes.
I gasped. “Imposs—”
“Don’t say it,” muttered Mal.”

Overall, I just loved Nikolai in this book. Now one of my favorite moments between Alina and Nikolai was probably the meteor shower part. I really wanted Nikolai and Alina to be endgame so badly. Nikolai respected Alina, he accepted her for who she was. I wanted them to get married at the end of the book. I liked how Mal tried to be more of a friend for Alina, instead of love interest. I thought that the book was going to end with Alina and Nikolai’s relationship. My heart broke when Nikolai became one of The Darkling’s shadow soldiers. Nikolai went through so much. Even though he was able to return to normal, he lost a bit of himself after the battle. I was happy that he was finally able to become King.

I did like Mal much more in this book than the two previous books. I did not like Mal  in the second book. He was very insecure in the second book. This book changed my view on him. I liked how he was willing to sacrafice himself and his happiness for Alina. He put Alina first and he wanted her to marry Nikolai. Mal thought it was best that Alina if she were Queen. I like Mal as her friend rather than boyfriend. Mal is a good character, but I feel that Nikolai and The Darkling are far more interesting than him.

sippin tea.jpg

I really thought that the Firebird was going to be the amplifier. I would have never imagined that Mal would be the amplifier that Alina needed. I had to put the book down when I read that part, because I was a bit shocked. I took some time to think about Mal being the amplifier and it may have been a bit obvious, but I didn’t see it at first. I really liked that twist. Alina couldn’t have found the other two amplifier’s without Mal’s help.

Lastly, I am glad that Alina is not one of Morozova’s descendants. For a second, I thought she was related to the Darkling, and thank goodness that was not the case!

Now here’s what I didn’t like about the book. For the last book in the series, I was hoping for it to be longer. Like a 100 more pages would have been better. Secondly, I really wanted there to be more Darkling in this book, he appeared way less than I would have imagined. I did like his interactions with Alina, but he hardly appeared in this book! I really wanted the Darkling to redeem himself at the end, but he just proved to be evil. I didn’t want him to die! I wanted Alina to save him.

Also, I thought the battle between The Darkling and Alina was going to be a bit more epic.  I felt a bit sad during his funeral.


His eyes fluttered shut. “Don’t let me be alone,” he murmured. And then he was gone.”

Where was the strong Alina from the second book? I felt that she lost her motivation to her cause. She felt much more weaker to me. Not as a strong leader I was hoping her to be. Alina could have done so much as a Queen!!! The ending was bittersweet for me. I really wanted Mal to stay dead.

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I felt that Alina could have achieved much more with Nikolai. She could have reformed her country. I just didn’t like how Alina wanted to fade into the background either! Even though she lost her power, she could have at least tried to become an ambassador or worked in the court. Though she settled down with Mal, I feel that he kinda hinders her growth as a person…

And finally, there was not enough Nikolai! I wanted him and Alina to get together so badly. I feel that Nikolai balances Alina more. I feel that as a couple, they would have been able to achieve much more reform as rulers. I do feel that they are a power couple. I am really sad that they were not endgame.

“You’ll still make a great king.”

“Of course I will,” he scoffed. “I’m melancholy, not daft.”

I could understand why many people did not like this final installment, but I enjoyed it!


“I will strip away all that you know, all that you love, until you have no shelter but mine.”

“Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay. I tilted my head back. The stars looked like they were close together, when really they were millions of miles apart. In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach.”

“In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach.”

“I’m used to being the center of attention wherever I go. I’ve been told I could charm the shoes off a racehorse midstride, and yet you seem impervious.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

15 thoughts on “Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

  1. Great review! I agree with you on Mal hindering Alina’s growth as a person. And I didn’t like him much either, Nikolai and the Darkling are far more interesting characters. And I did want him to die… 😀

    • I’m glad you felt the same way! *high fives*
      I was a bit bothered that he was the one that stayed with Alina. Even though he mentioned how much he loved her, he could have tried to show his feelings before she became a Grisha.

      • Yaaaay! *high fives*
        I agree. It was like he ignored her before she became a Grisha. And when he confessed to her I was really surprised, I didn’t think he would be in love with her. Like he had AGES to get together with her, but decided only to do that once she became “important”. I would have loved to see her be with Nikolai, be the queen and build the kingdom. It would have been such an interesting ending!

      • Exactly!!! I was mad when I read that. He had all that time to confess his feelings!!! Mal was better off as a friend rather than boyfriend. I felt that Alina constantly puts Mal’s needs first. Alina was on the path to becoming someone great, but I just hated how she wanted to remain “dead” and live her life with Mal. I could see Alina with the Darkling as well, but not Mal..*sighs*

      • Agreed! He would have been a great friend. I was also mad when he did that!
        I saw Alina and the Darkling together in the first book really well. And then when Nikolai was introduced he was my favourite to be with her.
        Yeah, I really don’t understand why she wanted to remain “dead” when she had so many amazing opportunities than hiding away.

      • When Nikolai was introduced in the series, I was totally on board. Nikolai is a good balance for Alina. I felt that Alina was willing to fight for justice for the first half of the book. I liked that side of Alina. During the second part, it felt that it was about Mal and living a normal life. Even though she started an orphanage, she could have done much more. Could have reformed her country or had a political career. The more I think about the ending of the book, the less satisfied I am with it because it felt that Alina was robbed of her opportunity to shine. 。゚( ゚இ‸இ゚)゚。

      • Yes I agree! Alina who want to fight for justice is my favourite. It’s really sad that she places Mal above everything, she would have been a much better character (in my opinion) if she accepted Nikolai and they ruled together.
        Yeah, it really does feel that way. She could have been great, but (kind of) wasted her opportunity. 😦

  2. Omg yes to everything!! I secretly wanted Alina to end up with Nikolai or even the Darkling! Nikolai is just so freaking amazing, everything that comes out of his mouth is either hilarious or witty or both, he’s the perfect prince ❤ I was really sad that the Darkling had to die 😥 I wanted more of his character too! I think the book could have been a lot longer as well. And omg I was not expecting Mal to be the third amplifier!! It didn't even cross my mind lol. I wanted Alina to be stronger in this book as well, especially since it felt like thats wha the two previous books were leading up to, sigh, oh well. It was a still an amazing read ❤ glad you enjoyed it!!

  3. I love this review! Personally I don’t ship Darklina (cause he is mine, I tell you, MINE) but I was so hoping for Nikolai and Alina too! And I really thought Alina would become queen cause the title says Ruin and Rising. I only saw ruin…no rising. I suppose Alina is happy running an orphanage and there’s no denying that is an incredibly kind and generous thing to do but honestly she could have done more as Queen.

    • YASSSSSSS!! I completely agree!! Alina could have opened the orphanage and done more than just that! Mal is better off being a guard than Alina’s boyfriend. The more I think about the ending, the more bitter I get. 😂

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