Ravka has been torn in two. The great Grisha army has fallen. Alina, the revered Sun Summoner, is in hiding, broken by her last encounter with the Darkling, who is now ruling Ravka from a shadow throne. Deep in the secret chamber called the White Cathedral, Alina is weaker than ever. Unable to summon her power that deep underground, she has grown frail. She was supposedly “saved” by the Apparat but soon realizes that she’s going to become a pawn in a greater game he’s playing. She knows that in order to save Ravka she will have to break free from the Apparat and her ardent worshippers. Since her last battle with the Darkling she’s become revered as Sankta Alina. Her followers trying to build an army around her. They call themselves the Soldat Sol and tattoo suns over their bodies in deference to her.
Alina does manage to break free from the Apparat and her small band of followers set out to find Morozova’s third amplifier and find Nikolai on the way. Their journey takes them through some of the most beautiful and desolate places on the boarders of Ravka straining their relationships and sanity. When they finally find the firebird it’s not exactly what they expected nor is it the third amplifier. Alina realizes this almost immediately, armed with her new knowledge of Morozova given to her by Baghra. The real third amplifier is one that she never expected. A link to Morozova that no one knew existed. The knowledge will test Alina’s courage, heart, and will to save the country she loves.
Ruin and Rising is the last novel in the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. The parts that were good were great but the parts that weren’t as good felt so forced. This was my least favorite novel of the three. In a way it reminded me of what Stephanie Meyer did in the last Twilight book, just trying to keep her audience happy but having the opposite result. Bardugo tries to maintain relationships in this novel that maybe shouldn’t be. I felt the book would have had more power had she gone through with some of the plot twists instead of reneging on them. The final battle was a bit stilted. I didn’t feel like there was so much lost or gained. The conclusion didn’t meet the hype. The big reveal was a lackluster one, especially in regards to the Darkling. He was such a clever and fascinating tortured villain. He could have his own spin off novels. The one thing I did like about the conclusion however was the effect of the third amplifier. It reminded me of Tuck Everlasting. That perhaps the greatest gift is to lead a normal life.
Overall, I enjoyed the trilogy. I loved the Russian aspects of the novel and had a lot of fun trying to identify what period in history each character and episode was inspired by. The novels have also inspired me to look more deeply into Russian folklore, something I don’t know much about. I think that the trilogy is definitely worth a read and can’t wait to see what else Leigh Bardugo comes out with.