"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."
After four hours of endless suffering through Barnes and Noble's customer support because apparently, they misplaced my ebook and gave it to someone else (lucky guy), I honestly expected a bit more excitement or awesomeness from Leigh Bardugo, who by the way blew my mind in Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm. And after all that work and anticipation, I will tell you this: I am horribly disappointed in it. Horribly disappointed.
I think you didn't get that message. HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTED.
I'll start with the simpler problems or the greater parts of Ruin and Rising. Alina, as usual, is amazing and more amazing since the last words of Siege and Storm. She may have some character bumps here and there (self-doubt, I mean), but she is one heck of a character. Her character development is great; and I love her for that. I didn't know she could rise anymore. I didn't know that she had a bit more forgiveness in her heart. She gotten a bit wiser. Excuse me now because I'm starting to cry over the wonderful growth of a character.
Nikolai remains talkative, but he became a bit darker. And yes, he finally sees himself as he is. Gone is the arrogant (maybe, not that arrogant), clueless (only of his own character), second prince. Here is the better one. A true hero, I may call him. I certainly do praise his character growth and his lack of words.
The Darkling, on the other hand, remains to be HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTING. Throughout the entire series, there were talks about redemption. Even his mother, Baghra, talked about the possibilty of it. I mean, come on. The person who knows the Darkling the best is perhaps the Darkling himself and his mother. It shouldn't be that surprising. Besides, the Darkling himself showed signs of possible redemption or at least, feelings. What the heck happened to his character? It was as if he was brutally chopped and reduced to a 2D villain. Perhaps, there was no chance of redemption. Perhaps, he was meant to be to the end. Perhaps fate was set before anything happened. But seriously? (Spoiler Alert: I'm mostly moaning about the lost of his character traits at the start of Ruin and Rising and his death). Now I understand why a lot of people are so mad. Bardugo must be having a laugh at us all. Or perhaps not. The Darkling is one of the most powerful and charming characters of the entire Grisha Trilogy. Then, he became a raging lunatic whose heart is far too dead. (And we never learned the true purpose of the Darkling. So furious am I now. You won't believe my fury).
(Honestly, I will never read anything from the Grisha Trilogy ever again. However, anything else written by Leigh Bardugo remains to be uncertain. There is a slight chance I will read those works. After all, what did they say? You learn from your mistakes).
Other than some terrible character axing and some terrible losses of life, Ruin and Rising doesn't have the same thrill as the previous two books. There is something strangely missing. Something missing. Perhaps, it was the heartbeat, or the life. I know the previous two books very well (I did read them to an almost obsession). And there is certainly something missing here. I think it is the enchanted, love-like feeling.
Plus, I'm very annoyed at Bardugo. She opened some doors into the Grisha World, but she does not close them. Some things in the book remains maddeningly unexplainable. What else about the amplifiers? What exactly is the Firebird's role in that world? Why did Alina's hair turn white? What is the purpose of the Grishas? Seriously, all these questions at the last installment! You know what I'll say? Dang nab it! Then I'll curse the world.
The ending shall remain a mystery. I already told you the Darkling's ending. I won't tell you what happen to the rest.
Rating: Three out of Five (There is some racy parts in there. Hot).