The Grisha Trilogy: Ruin and Rising


Yay! I’m back! I’m blogging! And this time I’m reviewing another third book of a trilogy…! (so beware, there may be mild spoilers about the earlier books!)

Trilogy books, especially young adult books, seem to have only two ways of working. They either tie things up really well and finish the story with panache and style – and what I tend to refer to as “all the feels!” – or they crash, burn and ruin something you love. After reading Allegiant (warning, spoilers!), my faith in third books in a trilogy was rather worryingly shaken, but luckily it seems to have just been a bad egg. So, onwards and upwards!

Ruin and Rising is the third and final book in the Grisha trilogy. I reviewed its predecessor, Siege and Storm, after finding it in my local library. However, a new bookshop opened near me, there were deals on young adult, and before you knew it I’d bought my own copy of Bk2 and had preordered Bk3. When you’ve read two out of three, you just need closure on the plot, characters, and world.

The world of the Grisha has been ravaged by the Darkling’s forces, a man after Alina for her Sun-Summoner skills. He wants them to rule the world together; she’s not so sure. Now Alina and her best friend (and on/off love interest) Mal are off to find the third and final ‘amplifier’, to maximise Alina’s power to get rid of the Darkling for good.

I enjoyed this plot very much across the three books, and felt that the events were paced well and clearly all led up to the conclusion of Ruin and Rising, again plotted well. I love a story with a good structure, and I would say the Grisha trilogy is definitely it. I have read series that are too fast so I can’t keep up, and I’ve read series where nothing much happens until the end where it all gets so crammed in you wonder what the author’s been doing with the previous four hundred pages. The Grisha trilogy certainly wasn’t like that.

The one problem I did find, however, was that however well plotted it was, the story didn’t grab me as much as it had the potential to. There have been parts in this story where I should have been ecstatically happy or plunged into the depths of despair, but I never had those peaks and troughs when reading. It feels like Bardugo is skimming the surface, like giving us and outline of the characters but leaving us with just a little too much to colour in for ourselves. This definitely isn’t true of all the books all the way through, as there are glimmers of strong characterisation, where the characters are so real to you that they are practically dancing off the page. But it was not nearly as sustained as I would have liked, and I felt for large quantities of this series I never quite grabbed a hold of Alina and Mal and their story as I wanted. But with a story this well thought-out and paced, it was not as much of a detraction as it could otherwise have been.

Overall, I enjoyed the series and would recommend it to someone who wants an easy fantasy read. At least the first two books are in my local library, and most libraries are very accommodating with recommendations if they are able. If buying/borrowing for a young person, I would suggest a 12-16 age range.


Ruin and Rising: 7/10


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