Friday, May 11, 2018

A Book Review of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Soldier. Summoner. Saint.The nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while a weakened Alina Starkov recovers from their battle under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Now her hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.

As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world. To win this fight, she must seize a legend’s power―but claiming the firebird may be her ruin.

Series: The Grisha Trilogy (Book 3)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Square Fish (August 18, 2015)
Page Count: 480 pages

I've finally reached the end! I snatched up this book as soon as I returned Siege and Storm to the library!

The Plot: Everything has finally come to a head. It seems like the Darkling has won, but the main characters are still fighting back. I was also extremely surprised by the twist. It was very well done. The climax was very intense and I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending. 

The Characters: Alina has a beautiful character arc in this story. Her personal journey throughout the books finally comes to fruition and it's beautiful to behold. I also love her banter with Nickolai. I couldn't help chuckling, but Mal and Alina forever. ;) 
I love how much attention the side characters get. Harshaw and Oncat had me snickering. And I loved Genya's journey. Her ship with David is great. I love how they get along as a couple because it's so unexpected. I enjoyed finally seeing more about the Darkling's past and he was a formidable villain throughout.

The Setting: There were a lot of cool settings from the cathedral to the catacombs, but my favorite was an old ruin with statues emulating constellations. That's sooooo cool to me!

Epic Things: The fact that there is a phoenix. There are not enough phoenixes in stories. XD

The Theme: I think self-worth was a big theme. Alina has been so afraid of being just nothing that she did all she could to try to be something, but in the end, she actually craved what she originally despised.

Content Cautions: A character admits she was raped, there is an implied sex scene, and there is a lesbian relationship between Nadia and Tamar. There are severed limbs and a severed head. Not too much swearing in this book d*** and a** are mentioned five times, h*** four times, and ba**** twice.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:
A Character Arc Completing At the End of a Series - Alina has a big personal journey across the Grisha trilogy. Part of the reason she was so easily seduced by the Darkling was he made her feel special. He made her feel like something. Then as the series goes one of his weapons was that without him and without her abilities she was nothing. One of my favorite moments of this book is when she finally realizes that she is still worth something without her abilities as just her barest self and the Darkling's words no longer bother her. 

How this can be applied to writing: Do you have a character arc that goes across a series?

Conclusion: Great conclusion to a great series! Loved it!

About the Author: Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising). She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Check out my review of the previous books in the series, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm!

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