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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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Book Review: Ruin and Rising

Book fans from all walks of life rejoiced this Tuesday morning as they picked up and began to read the final installment of The Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising. Of course, I was one of them. Luckily, it wasn't a busy day at work so I was able to slip in a few chapters here and there while still doing what I was supposed to be doing.  Ok, no, I really mean I ignored everything else and devoured this book in one day. 

Ruin and Rising is the entertaining, heart-wrenching, surprising, and inevitable end that all Grisha fans were hoping for. 

Be aware, though no spoilers for this book will be revealed, there will be spoilers from the previous two books in the trilogy. So if you haven't read them yet, don't read this post, AND GET TO READING THEM, YA HEARD?!

The third book begins not far from where the second left off. Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner, has barely survived her last encounter with the Darkling. Weak and sickly, she is not the great soldier, summoner, or saint that she needs to be. She and all the members of what's left of her group know that she must find the third and final amplifier, the firebird. Without it, she may not have the strength to defeat the Darkling and save Ravka. But it may come at a serious price that she may not be ready to pay. She could lose her humanity and become just as evil as the Darkling himself. Like calls to like, as she is constantly reminded. Will she be called into ruin?

Let me just say, first of all, this is one of my favorite YA trilogies of all time. It's unique, the world building is very well done, the characters are interesting, the plot is unexpected but inevitable, I could go on. It's a great trilogy. Each book does what it's supposed to do. The first establishes everything without getting too bogged down in the details. The second expands on what we know, takes the next steps, and yet doesn't fall into the all to common second book role of being only a bridge between one and three with little substance. And the third book is it's perfect ending. It pulls so many things from the first two installments together into one inescapable conclusion. So Ruin and Rising gets an A+ from me as part of a whole. As a stand alone, it gets an A+ as well. 

I was a little nervous about a few things going into this from the second book Seige and Storm, specifically the love triangle, well square if we include the Darkling. Love drama isn't really my thing and by the end of Seige and Storm I was growing tired of Mal and Alina's back and forth. "I love you, I love you too, you're Grisha, you're not, we can't be together, we can, you're insecure, am not, are too, am not, are too, what are we even doing?!"
It was wearing on me. But I needn't have worried. Bardugo doesn't dwell on that anymore. The characters know they can't so they don't. Yes there's still yearning and heart ache and desire, but it's not the center of the story until it has to be, until the love Alina and Mal share becomes part of the main story line instead of just a heart-wrenching distraction.

Yet another thing I was worried about was how this book was going to be interesting. We know Alina has to get the third amplifier, and we know she has to defeat the Darkling. The book's formula isn't that difficult to figure out. The trick is making all of it interesting. And yet again, I shouldn't have worried. Yes these things happen, but what I'm telling you is not a spoiler because of the way things happen. Bardugo throws obstacle after obstacle in their way and she has her characters break them down in such unique, unexpected, and perfect ways. It kept me guessing even when I thought I knew all the answers. Nothing happens in the way that you expect it to, and more secrets than you knew were hiding are revealed.

I could go on for a about three more blog posts about how much I enjoyed this finale. I loved the side characters, I loved the Alina's constant internal battle, I loved the dialogue, I loved the fact that no one was an angsty teenager, I loved the fantasy, I loved that this book is a perfect example of how great the YA genre can be. But I'll go ahead and stop there and let you read it for yourself. I definitely want to reread the entire series knowing the conclusion, in order to see all of the seeds and hints Bardugo had planted along the way. It's a great ending to a great series that I will be revisiting for years to come. I highly recommend it.

Title: Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommendation: Yes

Best Reader Audience: Female readers YA level and up

Final Rating: Four out of Five mugs of hot chocolate 
Like calls to like, and this book is calling to you! Use the link below and you're purchase will help support the Lone Book Club!

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