Saturday, July 5, 2014

Flailage: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy

The capital has fallen.

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.
Review by Nara

Note: See how I've titled this post with "flailage" rather than "review"? That means that it may be an incoherent mess/not really be a review. You have been warned.

AFTER ALL THE WAITING I HAVE FINALLY READ THIS BOOK. (And really, it was a wonder I wasn't spoiled for it between Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads. Let's hope that keeps up for City of Heavenly Fire as well...yeah still haven't read that...)
And yes, this book was:
1. Amazing
2. Incredible
3. Everything I hoped for (well...almost everything. Won't go into that because of spoilers.)

I do think this conclusion is the best of the trilogy. While the twists were somewhat obvious, in a way they were only obvious because Bardugo had left a trail of clues in the first two books. I think some people were probably disappointed by this- but personally, I liked how Bardugo ended the series. It was fitting, considering the natures of the characters.
"You might make me a better man."
"And you might make me a monster."
I always did find the dynamic between Alina and the Darkling very interesting- there's this shift of teacher/student vs. mortal enemies vs. companionship/understanding complicated by the physical/magical link between them. While I must admit, I never shipped them, I did have this small desire that she somehow converts him and they all live happily ever after. Does this happen? I'll let you find out for yourself.
“He watches her the way Harshaw watches fire. Like he’ll never have enough of her. Like he’s trying to capture what he can before she’s gone.”
The Mal x Alina dynamic was probably a bit less interesting for me. I shipped them in the first book (because between him and The Darkling, I'm sorry, but Mal wins) but he was so damned annoying in the second book. I think things really take a turn for the better between these two in this book.
   “You never know," said Nikolai. "I've been busy. I might have some surprises in store for the Darkling yet."
   "Please tell me you plan to dress up as a volcra and jump out of a cake."
   "Well, now you've ruined the surprise.”
Oh, Nikolai. You're such a delight.
Honestly, I want me a series centred on Nikolai and his various shenanigans.
Is it too much to want him to feature in The Dregs? It is about the criminal underworld, so surely we might be able to get at least a glimpse of him. Hehehe

So who does she end up with? Well, if you read between the lines (of the book, not of this review lol), it really is quite obvious. I can't say I was surprised by what happened in the end, and I think on the whole I was pretty happy.

I actually bought myself a copy of the B&N Exclusive edition of Ruin and Rising (despite having to wait almost an entire month after the release date to read it because damned shipping from the US. I COULD HAVE READ THIS SO LONG AGO) because there's a Darkling prequel novella in the back of it. Also, it is mighty pretty, with all the gold lettering. I can say that the novella did not disappoint. If you haven't bought a copy of R&R yet, I'd recommend getting that edition.


Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Romance: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5