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. -Goodreads
Never have I been so overwhelmed by a book since City of Heavenly Fire. I expected the last book in this trilogy to be epic, but not this... wonderfully written novel that left me staring into space for 30 minutes and wondering what to do with my life. My heart still aches from the conclusion of this truly amazing trilogy, but it's all good. All good.
(I'm having a hard time restraining myself from writing an enthusiastic request in caps lock to ask you guys to GO BUY THE BOOK NOW. So please, if you haven't done so, buy it and read it, because this is a truly great trilogy that deserves your attention.)
Trying to form my thoughts into understandable sentences is proving to be a struggle because of the complete awesomeness of this book/trilogy. Nevertheless, I will proceed! (However I apologize in advance if any unintelligible sentences do arise in this review.)
Reading Ruin and Rising was a roller coaster of emotions: from tearing up to punching the air in joy, it kept my heart and soul entirely immersed in the story, the words, and the journey. There was a time that I didn't feel like continuing on with this series but it would be foolish now to say that. Leigh wrote such a spectacular ending that I would've read this trilogy again and again.
From the first page till the last, I was entirely hooked onto the story. There wasn't a moment in the book that couldn't grab my attention because there were so many plot twists and surprises, I didn't know what to expect anymore. All I knew was that I wanted Team Good to win.
The characters in Ruin and Rising were even more well-developed and each of their roles played a huge part in the story. What really impressed me is that Leigh managed to tie her characters so deeply into the plot that you'll really miss them after. All of them were so realistic and I still feel tied to them even when the story's over. Alina, Mal, the Darkling, Nikolai, and many others had accompanied me on this glorious journey of a trilogy that I still do not want to let them go. I love each and every one of them and to read how the story played out was bittersweet.
And as for the romance...oh, let me tell you, the romance and the love triangle (wait...triangle? More like square) in this book is one of the most magnificently constructed romances that I have ever encountered. It will make you want to laugh, to weep, to feel like throwing the book against the wall because, oh the feels. As I like to say, behind every great book there's an epic romance.
(At the same time, people have also ranted on about how the book concluded. Click here to view the rants (and also some happy reviews!). However I'd like to point out that everyone has their own thoughts and opinions, and while they made a good point of stating why they were disappointed at the conclusion, I'm going to stick to my own judgement of the book.)
Overall, Ruin and Rising exceeded my expectations and has managed to bust its way into the top spots of my list of favorite fantasy books of all time. I'm so glad I approached this book because of its magnificent cover and I expect you to do the same as the story is on par with its cover, if not better.
My rating of Ruin and Rising: 5 stars / 96%