“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.”
My Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The book picks up just after the second instalment finished, which is satisfying. The first parts of the book focus on Alina and the other survivors at the mercy of the Apparat – CREEPY AS EVER (but well written). The storyline follows their search for the third amplifier – intertwined with the stories in the war, the followers of Alina as a saint, the prince, King and Queen (no longer sitting on the throne), Mal and the other survivors, and the Darkling itself. The final battle for the Kingdom will come…and there will be a huge price to pay. I can’t say too much more, or the ending will be spoiled, but the story itself was gripping and beautifully written as ever. ***CAUTION, SPOILERS FOLLOW!***
Honestly, the book itself was brilliant… Bardugo has such a way with words, there is truly no equal in her territory. The writing was perfect as ever, engaging and authentic world building, beautiful descriptions, wonderful characters that jump off the page. Charismatic, heartfelt, raw. My favourite part of this book was the ‘visits’ between Alina and the Darkling, still. It was beautiful to see the relationship between them, and see the more raw, vulnerable man that was behind the Darkling’s evil. The most disappointing part of this book was that the Darkling never found true redemption. In the end, he loved Alina and died in her arms – but that was it. He was still evil, he would still mutilate children because of his anger, fear, and greed. He felt no guilt, no remorse, no humanity… and had the author taken a different past, his persona could have been explored into the depths of the abyss. This could have stretched into many, many, more books… I am glad that we finally found out his name, and that she called it to him as he died.
OH THE LOSSES. So many people died… BAGHRA. Baghra. And I will never get over The Darkling… I still loved this book. I loved Nikolai’s turning, and how he sought out Alina, and was redeemed in the end. But… I didn’t like the ending personally. It left me wistful for changes that couldn’t be and gave me mild ‘hunger games’ vibes – where Katniss just settles down in a little house with Petah. There was so much more Alina could have been, and so many more possibilities than she and Mal just hunkering down, pretending nothing ever really happened (except for to relive things at Christmas over kvas) raising their own merry band or orphans. BUT, saying all that, including the fact I didn’t like it… it was a good ending. It was well written, it was interesting, the character development and plot movement was there, heart wrenching emotions and heartbreak and love. I just didn’t like the way it went. I don’t regret reading it, and it was still a freaking excellent last instalment to this trilogy. And yay, Alina and Mal finally did it… how anti-climactic was that? I love their relationship, it’s heartfelt and honest and true… but it just somehow lacked that true spark, the flame that doesn’t die… It was more like the love of your closest friend, your true family. I wish Alina could have ended up with Nikolai or Aleksander – much more chemistry, romance, passion with either of those two. Even a polyamorous relationship… Alina was much too good to be bound to only moody Mal, who didn’t even really see her before she was Grisha.
“Because you would be the strong one?”
“Because they’re better men than you.”
“You might make me a better man.”
“And you might make me a monster.”(Alina and the Darkling, during one of her secret visits)
My thoughts are only that I wish the romance direction had gone a different way… but that even though my heart doesn’t feel right about this ending, it was beautiful, sombre, and adept.Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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