It’s been two months since I’ve posted a review on here. What is up with me.
Sorry for the silence. I know you missed me.*
I’m back and filled with more nerd rage than ever. Muhahahahaha. Run while you still can.**
I’m going to try not to scream too much at Leigh Bardugo in this review, but who knows. I’m angry. And she sort of ripped out my heart in this book. *glares* I have one question for you Leigh… WHYYYY.
I’m trying to keep it spoiler-free, but if you’re the type who will hunt down anyone who mentions anything and smother them in stuffed animals (that sounds kind of nice, actually) AVOID ME AND MY REVIEW.
That’s right, I’m giving you leave to run. (The footnote doesn’t apply to you, you special bunch.) Now go away. GO.
*Actually, we both know that’s not true. BUT GO WITH IT.
**Just kidding, please don’t run. If you did, I’d have an emotional meltdown and throw my books at the wall in my rage/sadness…and we don’t want that, because, BOOKS. Please don’t make me hurt them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
The Potentially Spoilery Review shall now commence. (Ahem, that was your last warning. Now leave, you rebel.)
“I’m the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does.”
Ruin and Rising was honestly a little hard for me to get into at first. Granted, I’ve read this series super sporadically: I waited five months before picking up Siege and Storm after reading Shadow and Bone and then almost another month before I got the finale. Still, I didn’t get sucked into the world from the first page like I had before, and that’s never fun, no matter how much of the blame falls on me.
The pace didn’t pick up all too much (for me, at least) until the final few chapters, and then everything went WAY TOO FAST. I just wanted a little bit more balance.
That being said, the plot was still engaging, and I was left stunned more than once.
HOLY MOLY WAS I STUNNED.
(Please tell me it wasn’t just me. Or am I really that oblivious? *hides*)
As for the world, these books have been really weird about keeping it feeling consistent. I adore Leigh Bardugo’s writing, but her worldbuilding in this series was a little off. In Shadow and Bone, it felt fully constructed; every sight, every smell, every sound felt unique and real. It was lethal and beautiful and cinematic.
And then Siege and Storm comes in and turns the lights on. Mystery? Gone. Night-like aura? Gone. Is this is what the world is really like??? I was honestly super disappointed with the direction the worldbuilding was going in Siege and Storm; it felt too bright and too cheap and too fake and too wide. It was expanded much too quickly. Insurgent did it, King’s Cage did it. It’s a common mistake, but still, I hate to see Barudgo make it.
Then there’s Ruin and Rising. Plenty of opportunity for Bardugo to redeem herself, right? Well, it almost happened. In Ruin and Rising, the world constricted a little bit, but not enough to bring back the quality of the Shadow and Bone world. I hate to treat each book like they had a different world, because come on, that’s not supposed to happen, but unfortunately, that’s exactly what it felt like. In Ruin and Rising, the lights still feel too bright; the sophistication was still gone.
But maybe it’s just me. The world I fell in love with in the first book wasn’t meant to last. And maybe I’ve had a hard time admitting that. But I still did fall in love with that world and that story, and I couldn’t let it go in the midst of the next two books, because if I’m honest with myself, I was holding on to the hope that they would get back to that story and that world. And they never did. Nor did they make me fall in love with them either.
I’m still homesick for the Little Palace life. I’m sorry.
The character arcs took different turns than I expected. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really like where they ended up either.*
(This is where I scream about a certain character, by the way. LEIGH BARDUGO I’M COMING FOR YOU.)
“In this moment he was just a boy—brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by eternity.”
For the normal reader (I am not one, *cough cough* you know this) all the arcs probably wrap up nicely. And some of them did end sweetly, don’t get me wrong.
My…my character…didn’t deserve what came to him.**
[Please be patient while Marie takes a break for a healthy, heart-wrenching sob in that comfy looking corner there…]
In any case, I loved exploring the characters a bit more (for the last time***) and watching them go through this final book was full of the best kind of pain. It’s hard to say goodbye!
*If that makes me a horrible book person, I’m sorry…I just…FEELINGS.
**Okay yeah, if anyone deserved that end, it WOULD be him… But still. I. Loved. Him.
***The last time. How did it come upon me so soon? *sobs*
My favorite part about Leigh Barudgo’s novels, though, (besides the fantabulous characters, of course) is the brilliant, snappy dialogue. Every word the characters said fit into the conversation, flowed smoothly, and was there because it needed to be there. I was never confused by a character who’s words didn’t quite seem to match up with their persona, and I was never bothered by conversations that didn’t need to be there in the first place. I’ve never read better dialogue than Bardugo’s. Honest.
And while this book was TRAGIC*, it was also funny. And books that can make me cry and laugh? Well, those are the good ones. Just she things started to get tense, a character would say something delightfully sarcastic that lifted the mood a little.
*There, I said it. I AM AT PEACE.
Ruin and Rising was still a little heavy. It was a little difficult to start it up initially, and it wasn’t easy to pick it up every day after. Not that it wasn’t good…it just wasn’t…light.
And while I’d never give anything less than five stars to any book Leigh Bardugo’s written, if I was really fair, these two last installments of the Grisha trilogy would both have gotten a solid four stars…and that’s all.
Six of Crows is definitely the better series, but it doesn’t make the Grisha trilogy unreadable either.
I guess I just wanted a different story to be told.
Is it okay for me to read?
Language • • • • •
Some mild profanity.
Violence • • • • •
Large, shadowy creatures feature in some dynamic battles and cause a few bloody wounds, but beyond that, there isn’t much. Those scenes might seem a bit intense at times, they never step over the bounds of gory and are very few and in-between.
Sensuality • • • • •
Some kissing and light making out. One suggestive scene and some light innuendo.
Substances • • • • •
Some characters drink on occasion..
For more about my content ratings and what they mean, click here.