Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

ruin and rising

Title: Ruin and Rising (Grishaverse #3)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 17th June 2014

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I had been waiting to finish this trilogy off since I read Siege and storm a little while ago and it was great to finally do so. Ruin and Rising was everything I wanted it to be, and the ending was perfect for me. It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to characters, but at least I can carry on reading about the world in Six of Crows and find out more about Nikolai when King of Scars comes out next year (which I am super excited for).  As this is the third in the series there will be spoilers, as I reference events that happened previously.

After the attack in Siege and Storm, Alina and her followers have been pushed underground while the Darkling rules over Ravka. Hiding within a network of tunnels, the Sun Summoner is under the protection of the Apparat and those who worship her, but they do not know that she is broken. Unable to conjure the light, she must wait until her plan to escape takes place. She has to find the firebird, the third and final amplifier, so that she can rise against the Darkling and save Ravka. There is also the matter of finding the outlaw prince, who is said to be causing havoc above ground. A desperate race begins as they all put old rivalries aside to find the one thing that can save them all, but it will come at a cost.

After the second book, which was a little slow in places, I felt that Ruin and Rising set a great pace from the beginning, building with each chapter as we anticipate the final battle between Alina and the Darkling. You could feel the desperation of Alina and her friends, as well as the torment that they endure at the hands of the Darkling. So many lives have been lost throughout the series, and we can see how broken the world is. I’ve always loved the way Bardugo makes the world so vivid, and I think that she is a great writer. Not the best where this series is concerned (I read her collection of tales first) but I have really enjoyed the trilogy, and how each book focuses on finding one of the amplifiers.

There were definitely some unexpected events, mainly to do with Nikolai and the search for the firebird. I love that I never really knew what was going to happen and during the last 50 or so pages, when the battle was taking place, I found myself reading even quicker to find out what would happen. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest and the characters got the ending that they deserved. I also liked the way the Darkling was portrayed in this final instalment and the way we got to see another side of him (but I won’t spoil that for you).

Alina has had quite a bit of development from when we first met her in Shadow and Bone, where she was a lot weaker and didn’t always speak her mind. Now she can’t seem to stop, and while she was harsh in places it was interesting to see how she handled the power that she had. With the fate of Ravka resting on her shoulders, she became obsessed with finding the third amplifier, as anyone would in her position. She has lost a lot during the course of the series and the third book isn’t any different, with a final sacrifice that I wasn’t expecting.

Then we have Mal, a character I grew to dislike very much in the second book, but seemed to do a massive turn around in this book. While he used to be selfish and a bit of an ass, it was great to see him become more caring. It was also interesting to see Mal and Alina trying to mend their strained and slightly broken relationship. Of course, I absolutely love Nikolai, although I didn’t love some of the things that happened to him. The fact that he is getting his own series is the best news ever because I need more of his sass and charm.

The dialogue between the characters is amazing and I feel that is where Bardugo really shines. I always find myself smiling and laughing at the banter between the characters, and Zoya really surprised me as I found myself beginning to like her. And of course, we have Baghra making her appearance with her snarky comments which never fail to make me chuckle. I wished I could’ve gotten to know the other characters more throughout the series, and seen more of their interactions.

Overall, I felt that Ruin and Rising was a great way to end the trilogy, and it has made me so excited to move onto Six of Crows next. I can’t get enough of this world that Leigh Bardugo has created! This is a five star read for me!

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WWW Wednesday – Finishing Off a Trilogy

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

Today was my first day back at work after a very long weekend and already I am wishing it was Friday, mainly so I can get back to reading more amazing books. The good news is that I am on track to finishing my 7th book of the month, which means I have a new record set!

I also get to finish off a Trilogy that I have been loving and it means I can finally move onto another series that I always hear everyone talking about…Six of Crows.

What Are You Currently Reading?

ruin and rising

That’s right, I am onto the third and final book in the Grishaverse, Ruin and Rising. I’m already halfway through and I haven’t even read any tonight. It has started off great and thrown me right back into the world with all the characters I love. I am so happy that Nikolai is back in it because he is my favourite character and never fails to make me smile. I’m intrigued to find out what will happen with the Darkling and if Alina will find the third amplifier. All I know is that I am excited to see the ending and then move onto the Six of Crows series (which we have just found out will have a third book added to it).

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

ace of shades

I haven’t written my review for Ace of Shades yet (I’m hoping to do it tomorrow) but I really enjoyed the first book in what will be a trilogy. I loved the fast paced writing, the characters and the world of New Reynes. Very similar to Las Vegas, New Reynes is run by gangs and two rival families that own casinos. It is dark and dangerous, with a lot of mystery. I loved the magical element in the story, something I will talk about in my review, but I am excited for the second book, which will be out next year.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

empire of storms

As soon as Ace of Shades came through on NetGalley I put Empire of Storms to the side (and there it has stayed while I finish Ruin and Rising). However, I will be picking it back up soon after because I need to know what will happen in the story. I am almost a third of the way through and things have started to get very interesting, especially where Manon is concerned. I will probably be reading Tower of Dawn soon after, ready for the final book later on this year.

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And there are the books I am currently loving! It’s been a great week for reading so far, and I hope it continues.

What book are you currently reading?

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

siege and storm

Title: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 4th June 2013

I started Siege and Storm as soon as I finished Shadow and Bone, because how could I not? I wanted to find out what would happen to the characters and I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint at all. It was full of action from the get go and I felt this book was a great follow up. I cannot wait to see how it will all pan out for the characters that I have grown to love (some of them at least).

Running from the Darkling, Alina and Mal sail across the seas to make a new life for themselves, but it isn’t easy. While they had hoped the Darkling died on the Fold, they soon realise he is closing in on them and his plans have only grown more dangerous. To beat him she has to return to Ravka, with the help of a mysterious privateer who isn’t what he seems, and search for the power that can stop the Darkling once and for all…but at what cost?

As with the first, I loved the writing style that was fast paced and full of great descriptions that helped me to vividly picture the world around the characters. The story itself has been progressing nicely and the character development is there for a couple (not all) of the characters. Bardugo knows how to make you feel emotion, whether it is good or bad, and that is always a great thing. Sometimes you need to dislike characters, to roll your eyes at what they say and be annoyed by their actions (which I was when it concerns a certain love interest).

It was great to see Alina taking charge of the situation more in the second book, whereas in the first she was a little weak and moaned a lot. While there were some things I didn’t agree with, it was clear to see that she has had a lot of character growth and has become more sure of herself in her role as the Sun Summoner. The way she interacts with the other characters and Grisha was very interesting, especially the latter. She went from being the girl no one wanted to be around, to the one that would lead them.

From the end of the first book the relationship between Alina and Mal grew, but their ‘honeymoon period’ was bound to end soon. This is my least favourite romance I have read and it has to do with Mal. He wasn’t very likeable and honestly, he annoyed the hell out of me with some of the things he did that ended up hurting Alina. It will be intriguing to see what happens to them during the final book.

However, there was the introduction of a new character that I ended up really liking, and that is Nikolai. He is hilarious, a little arrogant (you find out why), but he does have good intentions. I loved the banter between him and Alina, which left me smiling and feeling warm inside. I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the final book. I can’t forget about the Darkling and his evil ways. It’s funny how I was beginning to like him in the first one and then everything just went south. I want him to be redeemable but I just don’t think it will happen. Saying that, I can’t wait to see what will happen to him, especially after that ending!

Overall, I really enjoyed Siege and Storm, and I am so excited to read Ruin and Rising, where I hope we can have a great ending to the story. I am going to give this four stars, just like the first one.

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WWW Wednesday – Fantastical Worlds

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

Considering I read two books last week I have been taking it a lot slower this week, mainly because I have been super busy with some personal stuff. I guess I can talk about it because it will actually be happening, but I am moving house at the end of April. My boyfriend and I just got accepted to rent a property that we really wanted and I am so excited! It’s gonna be a little stressful because we have to buy all the furniture but I am looking forward to it!

Apart from that, I’m also making my way through the working week. For our birthdays we get a gift day from work and if it falls on the weekend (like mine does this year) then we can take it either on the Friday or the Monday. I chose Friday obviously, so I can’t wait to get tomorrow out of the way.

Now to talk about books!

What Are You Currently Reading?

siege and storm

I’m still reading Siege and Storm, but I am 70% of the way through and I have a feeling I will be finishing it tomorrow. I love this world, the story and its characters. We’ve been introduced to a few new ones (I love Nikolai, he’s amazing) and I find myself smiling at the dialogue and enjoying where the story is going. I feel like there’s going to be some twists and I can’t wait to finish off the trilogy.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

shadow and bone

The last book I finished reading was Shadow and Bone, which was just over a week ago and you can find my review here. I can see why so many people love this series because it’s amazing and Bardugo’s writing is mesmerising.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

children of blood and bone

After doing my Top Ten Tuesday post on the books I want to read in Spring, it was very difficult to choose. However, I have settled on the debut novel that everyone seems to be talking about and one that debuted in the top spot on the NYT bestseller list. I can’t wait to dive into it!

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What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 5th June 2012

I feel as if I am very late to this series considering it has been out for six years now, but better late than never right? The reason I decided to read the Grishaverse trilogy a go is because I keep hearing everyone talking about Six of Crows, and then I found out there’s a series beforehand and I figured it would be best to start at the beginning. Shadow and Bone was amazing. I read it all within two days and I can honestly say that I think Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors now, especially after reading The Language of Thorns as well, which you can read about here.

Alina Starkov is from Ravka, a nation that was torn in two by the darkness of the Shadow Fold, a place where no light exists and creatures made of nightmares attack whoever enters. Alina is with her regiment crossing the Fold when they are attacked and her best friend, Mal, is injured. He would have been killed if she hadn’t somehow saved him with powers that had been dormant for all of her life. Once they have been discovered she is whisked away by the Darkling, a powerful Grisha who wishes to teach her their ways, for she could be the key to saving Ravka. She soon learns that nothing is as it seems and a dark force is looming in the distance.

When it comes to world building, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it better than Leigh Bardugo. We are thrown straight into it, with new words, places and people cropping up, but it was done in a way so that it wasn’t information overload. I loved the Russian influence on the names and the setting which made it feel very authentic and real. I became so immersed in the world that I didn’t want to stop reading. I wanted to know more and I cannot wait to see more of these incredible Kingdoms in the following books.

The magical elements of this book were so different to what I had read before and I loved how there were different types of Grisha, all specialising in certain abilities. There were Summoners, like the Darkling who conjured darkness, and there were others that could manipulate the weather. It was very interesting to see how Alina fit into the elite group after living such a mundane life beforehand, one where she was a nobody.

All of the characters in this book are wonderful in their own way and they were fleshed out so they were relatable and real. Alina was a great protagonist, with a strong voice and her character arc was great as she set out to discover who she really is. Yes, she has self-doubt and wonders whether she can be the person everyone expects her to be, but once she stops moping, she turns out to be a badass. Something else I enjoyed reading about were the other Grisha characters that feature and play a role in the story. Genya was someone who Alina grew close to and it was great to see a female friendship that was genuine.

Mal didn’t feature in the book a lot to begin with and I didn’t have much of an option of him, but it was interesting to see his relationship with Alina. The Darkling…He was the most mysterious character out of the whole book and I found myself wanting to know more. His voice was strong and intriguing, with a few twists and surprises that I didn’t expect. You can’t help but like the bad ones and he definitely has hints of that in him. And like with most good Young Adult novels there is some romance in this story and it was wonderful.

Shadow and Bone was a great story overall. While it may have started off a little slowly, the ending was amazing and made me excited to start the second book. If Siege and Storm continues on being as amazing as the first, I have a feeling it will become one of my favourites. I’m going to give this a solid four stars.

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Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: The Language of Thorns

Author: Leigh Bardguo

Date: 26th September 2017

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

I had never read a book by Leigh Bardugo before, but I have heard everyone raving about both the trilogy and her duology and I knew I had to play catch up. I figured the best place to start would be her collection of fairy tales set within the Grishaverse. It was the best decision I have ever made. I read this book in less than 24 hours. The Language of Thorns was incredible and took my breath away. I don’t think I have ever loved a book like this before and when I finished I held it to my chest and just said ‘wow’.

The illustrations throughout this book were beautiful and I loved that they were all in different shades of red and blue. It was very clever how they would start in the corner and grow as you turned the pages until they reached around the border. And the full page spreads…They were amazing and so detailed, capturing the essence of the story in one image. Out of all 6 I think my favourite has to be the first, Ayama and the Thorn Wood, but also The Too-Clever Fox was. But then again, the last one was perfect too.

Six wasn’t enough. I need more of these dark and twisted tales set in this world. I adored how they were all different takes on fairy tales I grew up on. Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid. I just couldn’t get enough of them all.

When it comes to writing, Leigh Bardugo is one of the best that I have seen. Everything flowed and kept to a great tempo, begging me to turn the pages until I reached the end. It was the one thing that spurred me on to wanting to read all of the books she has written, and that is exactly what I am going to do.

How can I give this book anything other than five stars? It is definitely worthy of them and I know for a fact that I will read this again in the future.

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WWW Wednesday – Goodbye Reading Slump

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

For the first 10 days of March I didn’t finish a single book, but in the last 4 days I have managed to finish one book I was stuck on for two weeks, finished another in less than 24 hours and a third book in two days. I think it’s safe to say that my reading slump is finally over. Sometimes it just takes one incredible piece of fiction to pull you out of it. And I am glad to see the back of that slump because it was awful.

My week has also gotten a lot better due to a little book idea that suddenly popped up in my brain. I can’t get rid of it, I can’t push it to the side and yes, I already have a Pinterest board full of images to create an aesthetic for it. This always happens when I start editing but I’m going to try and tackle both at the same time. This idea is too good to not do anything with.

What Are You Currently Reading?

siege and storm

As soon as I finished Shadow and Bone I just knew I had to start the second one. I’m not too far into it but it is off to a great start and I am still intrigued by these characters, especially the Darkling. I wouldn’t be surprised if I read it just as quickly as I did with the first, as long as it is interesting and fast paced still.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

I recently finished two books in the last few days (as stated above) and they were both incredible and by the same author. I think I have a new favourite and I haven’t even gotten to Six of Crows yet! The Language of Thorns was beautifully written, full of vivid descriptions and characters that jumped off of the page. I’ve already caught a reference to one of the stories in the second book of the Grishaverse trilogy and I’m so glad I made the decision to read that first. Shadow and Bone was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed and I really connected with the characters. I can’t wait to find out what happens.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

ruin and rising

Hmm, well, if I enjoy the second instalment as much as the first I have a feeling that I will have to buy the last one, Ruin and Rising. After that I will most likely begin reading Six of Crows, or I might take a break. I’m not really sure yet but as I don’t have a TBR list this month there are so many options available.

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Now you know all the books that have taken over my life recently. What book are you currently reading?