Book Review : Ruin and Rising (#3 in the Grisha trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (Final Book of the Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Author : Leigh Bardugo
Series : Grisha Trilogy
Volume : 3 of 3
Published By : Henry Holt and Company
Year Published : 2014
Genre / Tags : YA, Fantasy, Light Romance
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 358 pages (Hardcover)


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.


Spoiler-free, sans a marked and italicized portion toward the end of this review.

This final volume is rushed and crowded and I don’t mean that in a necessarily bad way. A lot happens and the pace is a far cry from Siege and Storm’s slowness. This final volume ended up being a welcome change.

Some of my problems from the first and second book are semi-solved here. Side characters (coincidentally, the ones I was most interested in) are given either expanded back stories or just worthwhile developments and resolutions. Baghra, Genya, and Zoya are particular standouts.

I came to like Mal again despite being irritated with him in the second book. Even though he’s not given much time in the spotlight, Nikolai showcases some of the best this author has to offer in terms of character dialogue and banter in the Grisha trilogy. Most other side characters pale in comparison when it comes to conversation.

A major drawback is the emptiness of the other side characters that ought to have more going on. I’m thinking of Harshaw, Sergei, Nadia, etc. They are developed so thinly as to not matter. There are some characters (won’t name names) who end up dying and it doesn’t matter in the least since we know almost nothing about them.

As for Alina, she is a character that struggled to be compelling and likable for so long during Siege and Storm and I was finally at peace with her pretty early into this installment.

The descriptions of setting and attention to detail seem less all-consuming, though still a bit much though competently written. I would have preferred a focus on character back stories, dialogue, and development. I’ve come to realize this is such an important aspect of fantasy and I’ve come across just a few series that are masterful in that area.

Without saying anything too detailed about the ending, I left satisfied. The build up leading to it and sort of preparation on the part of the characters lent a sense of high drama to the final proceedings. I think it’s an ending that will leave most people happy. However… it was open enough that I could imagine a darker and more sinister headcanon alternate outcome, one that fits into place well enough.


It was a super happy ending, but TOO convenient. It was so convenient for Mal to have two lives, and seemed like something Alina is assuming is true. And she no longer had magic at that point so it couldn’t be verified. Wouldn’t things make more sense if the Darkling, in his hundreds of years of living, studied magic enough to do a soul transfer (see- ‘walk-in’ on wikipedia) and is living inside of Mal? He could have interrogated Ana Kuya earlier to get every little detail he would ever need about Alina and Mal’s lives in case he wanted to impersonate him in the future anyway. Not canon at all and the after chapter makes it clear that this isn’t the case, but just a thought and my sort of headcanon for the ending, as someone who finds the Darkling a bit more interesting than Mal.

// End Spoiler

Overall Rating – 8.5/10

Why You Should Read It – If you loved Shadow and Bone and really want to find out what happened to the characters, it’s definitely worth checking out. I disliked Siege and Storm and still found Ruin and Rising worth reading.

Why You Might Not Like It – Though this came out one year before Six of Crows, it is not comparable. So if you go into this one thinking to have a slight taste of the newer Bardugo titles, this one still has more in common with Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm (though in my view, markedly better than Siege and Storm.)

Ruin and Rising (Final Book of the Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this series. It’s definitely a bumpy ride but was worth the time. What did you think of Ruin and Rising if you read it? Always welcoming your thoughts, and thanks as always for your support.


11 thoughts on “Book Review : Ruin and Rising (#3 in the Grisha trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Oh, I think I need to re-read this series. I think I read the series in 2017, back in the day before I started writing reviews, so in all honestly, I can’t actually remember much of what happened now (my memory is so bad)! 😅 Great review though! It definitely has me eager to pick this up again to see what I’ll think of it now.

    Liked by 1 person

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