Book Review – Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising is the third and final book in Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I also listened to this in audiobook format, narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

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Here is the blurb:

The capital has fallen.

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.

So this final book in the series brought everything together to quite a satisfying conclusion. I had guessed some aspects of the ending but not enough to spoil anything about it. I particularly like stories where the magic and the history come full circle and resolve something about the world, and this book certainly satisfies in that respect.

I don’t want to spoil anything by saying more here, but if you enjoyed the first two books, you will likely appreciate this conclusion.

For my review of book 1, Shadow and Bone, look here. Or for book 2, Siege and Storm, look here.

Have you read the whole series? What did you think? Please let me know in the comments.

Find more of my book reviews here.

Book Review – Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm is the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I jumped right into this after finishing the first book and also listened to this in audiobook format (narrated by Lauren Fortgang). If you want to read my review of the first book, Shadow and Bone, you can find it here.

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Here is the blurb:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

This second book picks up with Alina and Mal trying to find a life together in a new land. But of course, they can’t live happily ever after when this is only book 2! Parts of this second book irritated me because at the beginning it felt like the author was reverting to the same forms as in book 1. I started to tire of having the Darkling threaten to hurt Mal in order to get Alina to cooperate.

But once a certain privateer arrives on scene, the events took a fresh turn. Now I did get tired of Mal being surly and Alina hiding secrets throughout the book, but at least the characters change as the story unfolds. I also figured out one character’s secret before it was revealed, but the clues had been there.

The mythology and the history of grisha magic begins to be more important in this book which leads into the resolution of the story in the last book.

Have you read any of the Shadow and Bone books or watched the Netflix show? Let me know in the comments.

Find more of my book reviews here.

Book Review – Shadow and Bone

I started to listen to this series (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo in audiobook format (narr. Lauren Fortgang) after I started to watch the recent Netflix series encompassing the events of this first book, Shadow and Bone.

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Here is the blurb:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

The country of Ravka is loosely based on some Russian or Eastern European cultures and is a tough place to live for the average peasant. I think it is that aspect, together with the romance aspects that gave this story echoes of the Hunger Games.

However, this is very much a fantasy setting, with magic and monsters aplenty. Interestingly, this is also a world in which technology has advanced in spite of magic, even to the point where it starts to threaten those in power. I found this book very easy to follow and it sped to a satisfying conclusion. While the story isn’t complete in the first book, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger either.

The television show follows the book very closely, but mixes in events and characters from one of the author’s other series (which I have yet to read). Even if you haven’t read the books, you could watch the show without any spoilers for how the series ends.

Have you read Shadow and Bone or watched the show? Let me know in the comments.

Find more of my book reviews here.

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