From Summoner to Saint (Ruin and Rising – A Book Review)

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone #3)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Published: 2014

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated P for the predictable choices leading to a poor ending for all.

Soldier. Summoner. Saint.

The Darkling rules over Ravka while Alina, Mal, and the remainders of the Grisha army are in shattered and in hiding. Alina still heals from the Darkling’s attack, but time is running out to save the world. She must find the final amplifier and destroy the Darkling once and for all. But, does she really want this power to defeat the Darkling, or for herself?

New alliances are forged, old rules are broken, secrets are unraveled, and a new future awaits.

Shadow and Bone Reviews

Shadow and Bone

Siege and Storm

Warning: It was impossible to omit spoilers. Tread at your own risk.

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This book went from great down into a pit of fire for me. It felt like Bardugo was afraid to go off the beaten path and just caved into the easiest options that would keep her readers happy. And, I could be wrong, but the vibe was strong. While there’s those that disagree with endings because it didn’t go their way, there are also those that disagree with endings that are just obviously bad. This was obviously bad. I was just so disappointed. The story had been coming to such a strong conclusion, though it was still slightly confusing because Alina was so wishy-washy.

The hunt for the final amplifier before the Darkling got his hands on it was a major part of this book. It was deadly and dreadful for Alina and her group. I was caught by surprise when Alina discovered firebird, but then had this, “Are you serious?” roll of the eyes. For real!? It’s not that I should’ve guessed it sooner, but I felt like it was cheesy and a cop-out. After such a long, cold, painful journey that made even me ache, it was that basic? Mal was the firebird!? Ugh. It made very little sense to me, even from a fantasy point of view.

However, I was continuously intrigued by Alina’s Grisha abilities developing. She not only improved in lightbending but she discovered she could shadowbend as well. It sparked a growth in her abilities and though it came from the Darkling’s new shadow monsters, I wondered if other abilities could be developed if researched more. That’s probably a subject to sort out in a fanfiction. LOL.

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I don’t think I would be so harsh about who Alina chose at the very of this trilogy if she was actually solid about it. I still couldn’t get myself to believe her choice. I was flabbergasted. FLABBERGASTED I TELL YA! LOL. But, I figured that would be her choice not because they seemed so perfect together but because it was predictable from the get-go. Of course, it was Mal. Why would Alina actually go in the direction of what she wanted? She fell to his insecure whims and I really couldn’t stand it. Hell, she even faked her death for him and that was the last straw for me. She was offered a life she wanted and she threw it away.

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There needs to be a prequel about the Darkling. His backstory felt fractured and I would love to read the tragedy of his life leading up to becoming the monster of this trilogy. There’s so much story to tell with him, and this trilogy feels like it’s only the back half of it. I’m not changing my mind about what a horrific person he is, but I do want to read about it from beginning to end. He’s got me interested to know his full story.

Overall

While I’m glad I’ve read this highly acclaimed trilogy, I’m glad it’s over. From being too predictable to feeling disappointed in Alina for falling under the whim of what Mal wanted, not her. And yes, I do think she wanted Nikolai. She just didn’t get to explore it which was a fecking shame. Alina overthinking every little bit didn’t help matters either.

I doubt I’ll be keeping this trilogy. It just didn’t impress me. The imagery and the world, yes. The characters and their poor decisions, hell no. Even though the fantasy genre is such an easy genre to read because a typical rule of thumb is that anything can happen, this trilogy managed to stretch beyond that believability for me.

Quotables:

“The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.” (p. 2)

“See? If we’re not dead in a month, we might be very happy together.” (Nikolai to Aline, p. 233)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? Whispers by Halsey.

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