Thank goodness for Leigh Bardugo. I love to read (obviously), and I enjoy all kinds of genres, but from the moment I read the first few pages of the Grisha series, I knew I was embarking on an entirely new sort of adventure.
Ruin and Rising finishes Alina’s story powerfully. Like the rest of the Grisha novels, the writing is filled with strong imagery–for me, it almost plays out like a film. It begins quietly: flashes of stillness and a small light in the dark, waiting.
“He did not see the moment the girl ceased to bear her weakness as a burden and began to wear it as a guise.”
I’m enamored of the way Bardugo is able to build tension and write scenes that explode on the page. The Grisha race from one battle to the next, and become epic in their scope. The real beauty in the fiction, though, are in the less flamboyant moments–the conversations in dark corners, the connection between two people who both love and fear one another, the sense of loss encompassed in a few gestures. Bardugo is a master when it comes to portraying these deep, emotional connections, and in my opinion, it’s that ability that makes a truly great writer.
As far as the story itself, I won’t spoil anything for anyone. Just know that I read the last page, set the book down, and felt a deep sense of satisfaction. All the ends are, indeed, tied up by the close of the series, but not in a trite or easy way. Everything about the ending of Ruin and Rising is perfectly Alina: true to her own virtues, and no one else’s, and tempering triumph with some pain and concern for those she loves. But happy, in the face of it all, and pressing forward bravely. It made me realize that maybe Alina, more than anything else, that made me fall in love with these books.
If you haven’t picked up any of the Grisha books yet, please give them a try! I absolutely relished every minute of my time with them, and I think you will, too!
None of them were easy or soft or simple. They were like me, nursing hurts and hidden wounds, all broken in different ways. We didn’t quite fit together. We had edges so jagged we cut each other sometimes, but as I curled up on my side, the warmth of the fire at my back, I felt a rush of gratitude so sweet it made my throat ache.
Super clean. One of my favorite books so far this year! 5 stars.