Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursentary: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

image via Goodreads

I brought my copy of Shadow and Bone with me on my trip to Spain, which was perfect, because it amped me up to read the trilogy’s latest and last star: Ruin and Rising. R&R was a stressful read; I wasn’t entirely sure Leigh Bardugo was going to satisfy my need for a happy ending.

I shouldn’t have worried. It was amazing, anyway.

The Rundown (via Goodreads)

"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.”

Spekalation: Why I Liked This Book (Top 5 Edition)

1. humor: There are enough painful parts that you won’t be smiling for long, but still. Alina Starkov has funny friends, and humor is the key to hope for a better future.

2. The Darkling: I love and hate this man. He’s a villain, he’s twisted, he’s evil, and he’s totally amazing. There are too many times when you sympathize with a villain, but deep down you know he’s still a bad guy. Here, I’m not so sure. The Darkling has motive, he has drive, and he has dreams—dreams that could be beautiful. I applaud him, whether he deserves it or not.

3. Zoya: Zoya shows up throughout the trilogy, and is the competition-who-is-prettier-and-better-than-the-female-MC-in-every-way. I like that she and Alina become friends. Perhaps they wouldn’t have, but sometimes you have to love the people circumstances present to you. Overcoming their dislike was impressive, and I approve.

4. Nikolai: He’s a pirate. He’s a prince, he’s a rogue, he’s a gentleman, and he’s a handsome bastard to boot. I loved him. His arc inspired me—with Alina’s help he overcame personal corruption and honest struggles. And I love that he had a righteous interest in power. Putting people who don’t want power in charge doesn’t mean anything—Nikolai wanted to be king, and he proved that he could be a darn good one, too.

5. happily ever after: It was perfect, it was whole, it solved all the problems, and that was enough for me. That’s all.

Leigh Bardugo’s writing confounds me. It’s vivid, witty and humorous and all that, but also with darkness. You get the sense that there is something very real at stake. It made the writing worth it.

A brilliant end to a brilliant trilogy: I give it full marks.

Have you read Ruin and Rising? What did you think? Share in the comments below!

PSST! I’m also doing a blog post on Ruin and Rising over on Wandering in a Blur! Check it out!

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