Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Alexis: Read 2/20/19

Ruin and Rising was certainly the best book of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I disliked Alina’s character in the first two books, and I felt like she became a more complex character in this one. Additionally, Mal had zero personality in the first two books, and he felt more real to me in Ruin and Rising, as well.

Everyone can agree with me here: Nikolai is still the most vibrant character. He has a sparkling personality and he knows what he wants. He echoes the beginning of Bardugo’s masterfully crafted characters in the Six of Crows series.

As for the plot, I feel like the first half of the book meanders. There’s a whole host of secondary characters that I didn’t really care about, except for Genya.

And time for an unpopular opinion: I don’t like the Darkling. He’s creepy, manipulative, and honestly rapey. His beauty doesn’t make up for that.


Okay, so I really enjoyed the plot twists in the second half of the book. Mal being the third amplifier? Nikolai getting turned into a monster? I didn’t see either of those coming, and it made the book more exciting!

The ending felt very Hunger Games to me: boy and girl get together and live a nice, normal life together, where they can grieve together forever. I honestly didn’t mind the ending, as I think it was the happiest ending for Alina and Mal. But Alina losing her power was anticlimactic and confusing. It felt unnecessary. Plus, she had such a good character arc by Ruin and Rising that I felt it was unfair for her to return to how she was in the beginning of the series.

Despite some of my issues with this book, I really enjoy the Grishaverse and I couldn’t put this book down. I enjoyed seeing Bardugo’s writing style evolve!

VERDICT: 4 out of 5 books

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