“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 honestly felt like taking a shower whenever reading about the Apparat… the funny thing is, in my mind he looked just like Rasputin from the movie Anastasia. Creepy, weird and just plain nasty. He played a huge role in the whole “Alina-is-a-saint” thing, and it always seemed like he was planning something, but at the same time, he was useless. He created the cult (which kinda gave me a very Joan d´Arc vibe) but he did nothing to help, just stayed hiding like some sort of stinky bug.
In this final instalment of the Grisha trilogy, we get to see a new “batch” of Grisha, which was really fun (even if some of them were crazy like Harshaw and his cat, Oncat). Overall, I enjoyed reading about the new relationships (*cough*NadiaAndTamar*cough*) and how much the old characters changed. Alina and Mal are completely different from who they were in the first book, and for a second there I even thought they´d walk different paths, but they grew, and became strong and perfect for each other once more. The others also changed and let me tell ya something´…I loooove themmm allllll. None of the characters are completely black and white, and it´s very hard to say “I don´t like that one.”
But I must confess that the characters were my favorite part of the book, and I was a bit disappointed with the story. Yes, there was a very interesting ending, and yes, new things happened left and right, but at the same time, the lack of plot kept bugging me. Many things happened, but they all seemed to play the same cord.
But can you guess what keeps popping into my head whenever I think about this book? The. Freaking. Scenery. Oh my God, guys, it was sugar for the brain. The colors, the creatures, the forests, the rivers… it all seemed to shine and shimmer. The way things are described set these incredible contrasts of colors and shapes. A++ job.
Something that also made my eyes twinkle is, of course, the Darkling. Most of the time I just wanted to punch him really, really hard, but we see a much more human side to him. We learn his real name (which I will not mention in case of spoiler-hunters), we learn about his childhood, about how he used to be… and ahhh, my heart hurts thinking about him. He does dome truly unforgivable things, but at the same time, we know some awful things also happened to him. He´s Alina´s enemy, but they understand each other in such a way that Alina ends up only feeling completely comfortable around him, and their relationship is all sorts of messy (I´m going ignore the ending. I´m not ready to deal). I love/hate him.
The other man in my life is, of course, Nikolai. Ah, dear prince, how you have suffered. All my notes on him went sort of like “NO!! NOOooOOO! NIKOLAIII” and “POOR BABY” because he went through every possible thorn bush in this fantastic world. Because of him, I wanted to yell at Alina for being harsh and giving him hope when there was none, I wanted to sucker punch the Darkling across the globe, I wanted to wallop the king and queen for being horrible. He kept surprising everyone with his incredible inventions and his truly amazing mind, and honestly? They would´ve gotten nowhere without him. Leigh Bardugo is also incredible for having him threaten his father and king for Genya´s rape. That´s how things should be done in stories.
Overall, I thought Ruin and Rising was a really good way to bring down the curtains. It brought the series to a satisfying close, and despite my disappointment with some of the parts, I´m happy with how it ended. I´m going to miss the “Before”s and “After”s that started and ended these books, just as much as I will miss those two little ghosts/fentomen/malenchki.