Review: Ruin and Rising
Thursday, December 14, 2023

Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a satisfactory conclusion to the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I liked that a lot more happened in this book than the previous one, though there was still a considerable amount of time set aside for lengthy descriptions. If you watched the second season of the Netflix adaptation of this series, pretty much everything from book 2 and book 3, along with the crows story arc, were combined to make that show.

Alina and Mal are on the run, as per usual, which is good. It's always fun to have your protagonist against the ropes. Alina is getting stronger in her powers but, whether due to youthful arrogance or some dopamine addiction caused by her use of merzost, Alina continuously makes really terrible decisions. She seems weirdly obsessed with visiting the antagonist even though it doesn't serve any real purpose except to expose herself to more danger. That really annoyed me. Mal is stoic as ever, though his personality does flip-flop a bit as he goes from angry and self destructive to resigned... but still self destructive, so I guess it's not such a big shift after all. Come to think of it, Mal seems to spend a great deal of this series trying to die.

I still love the character of the exiled pirate prince, though that arc does take a dark turn in this book. I won't say more since I don't want to spoil anything, but yikes! That was a heavy plot twist. The darkling continues to be calculatingly evil, able to manipulate Alina and her allies at almost every turn, though he doesn't make many actual appearances in this book save when Alina visits him through their strange astral-projection.

I enjoyed the ending. The climax was a little muddled, and I'm not sure about how Bardugo interpreted Alina's final miracle as the sun saint, but I liked the wrap-up. It had a very tidy, full-circle feel that left me satisfied. No loose ends.

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