Ruin & Rising, Leigh Bardugo

The final book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy has Alina and her ragtag group of rebels in even more dire states. The Darkling rules from the Ravkan throne with his invincible shadow soldiers surrounding him. After the climatic battle of Siege and Storm, Alina is weakened, hardly more than a shell of the summoner she once was.

With the destruction of the Little Palace, Alina, Mal and the grisha still loyal must rely on the Apparat and his network of secret tunnels and spies. To cement his control, the Apparat bars Mal and Alina from seeing each other, further straining their fragile relationship. After their epic romantic moment during the fight with the Darkling I thought Alina and Mal would be stronger than ever, but – yet again – the strains of Alina’s power and responsibility seem too much for their relationship to bare.

I loved seeing more of the Sun Cult and those that worship Saint Alina. The Sun Soldiers were loyal and surprisingly determined to stand by Alina, despite their lack of training. Luckily for them, Tamar, Tolya and Mal are more than happy to beat them into shape. I enjoyed seeing an army of regular, nonmagical people compared to the supernatural power of the Second Army’s grisha. Demonstrating that plenty of average people, not just Mal, are willing to fight for their freedom and families. Plus, the sun tattoos were incredibly cool and only helped displayed their devotion and determination.

It was tragic to see the fates of certain characters throughout this book, but I still loved our core group of people. Genya has returned to Alina’s side, but the physical punishment the Darkling inflicted on her has drastically changed her physical and mentally. Now she must endure the whispers and shunning of everyone who cannot bare to look at her. However, it shows her true strength and resilience to continue on after everything and it was wonderful to see her develop past her obsession over physical appearance, though she continues to fuss over Alina. I was excited to see her have the chance to finally admit her feelings to David and I hoped that despite her deformity and constantly being on the run, the two could find a way to be together.

Another surprising relationship I enjoyed was with Tamar and a secret someone. It was good to see the strong, unwavering badass have a chance at some romance. It was amusing watching Zoya attempt to flirt with Tolya despite the huge man’s disinterest in her, regardless of her beauty.

I loved this book so much. The twists leading up to the climax were great then paired with the final surprise during the climax made for an amazing book! I really enjoyed the ending and, though I am sad to have finished this trilogy, am I thrilled to have been able to experience this incredible adventure. I give it 5/5 and hope there will be more books exploring the grisha world.

PS. If you loved the Grisha world as much as I did please check out my review on Six of Crows – set in the same world as Shadow and Bone, a gang of thieves take on an insane job to steal something from the world’s most impenetrable fortress.

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