Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: The thrilling conclusion to The Grisha trilogy! Alina, Mal, and the gang must work together to find the firebird, dethrone The Darkling, and finally bring peace to Ravka.

PREVIOUS: The Witch of Duva  Shadow and Bone  The Tailor  Siege and Storm  The Too-Clever Fox

This series ends the way you expect it to, but also ends in ways that you don’t expect it to. There are two really interesting twists (that I didn’t see coming and I usually can) that are what make this ending remarkable. The only bad thing that I have to say is that the supporting cast still have stories to tell. I think this perfectly rounds out the story of Alina and Mal, but now I need the story of Nikolai, the story of Genya and David, the story of Tolya and Tamar, the story of Nadia, you see where I’m going. If Leigh Bardugo felt like writing some short stories about these guys I wouldn’t be upset. I think one of the greatest parts about Alina’s character development is seeing her go from naive, lonely girl, to strong, loved warrior, but at the same time she doubted herself frequently and also retreated back into the naive, lonely girl mode which I find interesting. It isn’t very often that you see the main character take such great strides forward, but also baby steps backwards. I also loved how although Alina wanted to internalize her pain and grief to stay strong for everyone else, Mal actively encouraged her to let go. I can’t really think of many instances where the hero is given permission to let go, especially in front of their team. Alina was so internalized in this book that I missed all the playful banter between her and Mal, the jokes between her and Nikolai, and the heart-to-heart moments between her and Genya. I understand why she was so internalized this book, but I did miss her relationships. I also felt like the Darkling was less menacing. He seemed like he was so tired of it all and ready for it all to be over which is really interesting as well because villains typically are so energetic and ruthless. It was cool to see that side of him. This is such a unique and special series. I loved every second that I read about them and I want even more. I think there are so many underutilized mythologies and I’m glad Bardugo chose to base her world in the Russian persuasion. Six of Crows I am ready for you!

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