Blurb: 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.
Thoughts (Spoiler Free): I feel so conflicted with this installment of the Grisha trilogy. For the most part, I loved it and felt it was a good ending. At other times I struggled slightly to get through it and felt it dragging on, which definitely brings down the overall rating for me.
For me, this book was really tough to get into. We start out with a weak and pitiful Alina who is basically being controlled by the Apparat because she’s a saint. This was the most annoying part of the book because I didn’t feel like much was happening until Alina and her group escaped from the White Cathedral. The pace of the book started to pick up shortly after that, but I didn’t get truly sucked in until close after the 100 page mark when Alina ran across our favorite snarky prince.
After this, we see Alina gain back control of her power and her need for the firebird grows even stronger so that she can, once for all, kill the Darkling. Alina herself grows quite a bit throughout the series, but we see her take control of her power in this installment. She becomes powerful instead of this young weak girl we first met at Keramzim. One of the best things about Bardugo’s novels is her knack for fantastic character development and some examples are Mal, Nikolai, Alina and even the Darkling.
Speaking of Mal, one of my biggest issues in Siege and Storm was Mal being an insufferable prat. He definitely redeemed himself in Ruin and Rising and I found myself beginning to like his character again and I was perfectly okay with the epilogue. It might’ve not been who I wanted Alina to be with, but the way he redeemed himself made him acceptable, but he’s still not my favorite character.
My love for Nikolai Lantsov only grew while reading this. Nikolai is by far my favorite character and while he went through hell, he still came out as one of the best characters. I loved how he called out his father for Genya and how he was supportive of Alina, no matter what crazy plan she had next.
The ending was so shocking for me, but it’s hard to discuss without spoilers. Bardugo did a good job of wrapping up her series and the ending and epilogue were satisfactory. So overall, this was a nice installment in the trilogy although it dragged in several point throughout the novel and wasn’t as interesting as the previous two.