“I Am Ruination”

Posted June 23, 2014 by Wendy in Reviews / 8 Comments

“I Am Ruination”Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Macmillan on June 17th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Monsters
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon

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.
Ruin and Rising is the thrilling final installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

Perfection. Utter perfection. How was Ruin and Rising so brilliantly perfect?? Did I just use the word perfect three times in three sentences? Sorry not sorry. I have to admit, I started this with a twinge of nervousness. Series enders are tricky and I have been disappointed by trilogy enders before! I didn’t need to worry because I adored this!

First of all, the Grisha world with its Russian themes is freaking awesome. The world building is astounding, as I’m sure I menitoned in my reviews of the previous books. (Found here and here). Also, Leigh Bardugo’s writing style? Awesome. She paints a picture with words and places you there. She will make you laugh one minute and tearing up in another. She extracts emotion and feelings from you with words as easily as Alina’s power can cut through darkness…

The characters each stand out and Leigh somehow forges these connections with them to you so that you feel like you know them. She immerses you in their story, in their heartache and in their joy. You feel their desperation and you feel their steely resolve. God, she’s amazing. The story is also action packed. So much happens and there are many moments where I gasped out loud. I could not put it down. I feel like there was almost a lull in the middle of Siege and Storm but with this one, it was like bam-bam-bam, THINGS HAPPENING. Which I, of course, adored. Everything clicks into place and you find out about everything! Everything ties together and all the things I was dying to know, I now know and it’s perrrfect. (I know, I know, I’m wearing out that word.)

“Make me your villain”

The Darkling is such a complex villain. Complex villains are just the best kinds. This book reveals more of his background and history as well as his real name. The novella of his that’s in the back of the Collector’s edition is also SO good (thanks Angie for letting me hurriedly read it from your copy!)

“I am become a blade”

Mal has shrugged off his whiny stage in Siege and Storm and has become the leader that I always hoped he’d be. He is strong, resilient and amazing. For those that dislike him, reserve judgement until after you read.

“I am ruination”

Alina. She has changed so much from the girl we see at the beginning of the trilogy and I love it. She has embraced her power and her position and she will use it to save Ravka. She is a leader now. She is a fighter. Her growth is incredible!

Do I really need to say anything about Nikolai? I mean, he’s still as snarky, hilarious, clever and as awesome as ever. My favorite privateer that I will love forever and will follow to the ends of the earth. Too much? His story in this is also just brilliant.

I feel like there is a lot of stuff I want to say regarding the story that would be spoilers but I need to say them anyway so DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK.

Spoiler: (highlight to read)


I see a lot of negative ratings for this based on one thing and that makes me sad because this book is still wonderful and the writing still beautiful. People are reacting badly to it, mostly from what I see, because the Darkling died? Is that why? I was kind of browsing around to figure out where the dislike was coming from. Okay, my thoughts on that:

I always expected him to die? I’m sorry, am I the only one? I am one of the only ones that never saw him in a swoony light… and while I understand where he’s coming from and while I know he’s not all evil…I didn’t see him changing from his current course. I feel like he passed that point of redemption after the events of S&S. And… if he didn’t change from his current course, goodbye Ravka. I’m just saying, that it was kind of necessary, to destroy the darkness, destroy the fold, bring about Ravka, renewed and free.

And the other big thing I’m sure people are upset about… Mal. Alright y’all — yeah, he was an ass in the second book. But people are not perfect. People are flawed. And that was Mal at his weakest, at his lowest point. He floundered and was an idiot and an ass — but here’s the defining thing. He knew it. And he manned up and did something about it. He came into his own and he found his niche as a soldier, as a leader and he embraced it. He gave up Alina to Nikolai because he knew it was what was necessary and that selflessness is very different than the selfish Mal we saw briefly in Siege and Storm. He realizes that she was someone she was meant to be, that she could rule, that she could heal Ravka and he kicks his selfish self from S&S to the curb and he lets her go. This made me love him even more. So don’t tell me he didn’t like her once she had her power and wanted to repress her. Because he realized that was wrong. And he accepts it and supports her and would give his life if she and her power would restore Ravka. I love Mal. I had to have this paragraph to spout my feelings. 🙂 And these two quotes made my heart squeeze painfully.

“Say goodnight. Tell me to leave, Alina.”

“Deserve her.” <– That. THAT.

To me, everyone wanted Alina for something. The Darkling wanted her power. He wanted her so he wouldn’t be alone. Nikolai wanted a queen. Someone for Ravka. Only Mal wanted her for her. And he lets her go for what is best for Ravka and to me, that makes up for his faltering period in S&S. I love their love.


End spoiler.

Feel free to DM me or email me for discussion purposes!! Because I have so many thoughts, I’d LOVE to talk to you guys about this book, but just remember — keep the comments spoiler free!! I actually, in fact, saw a spoiler on twitter but… I kind of thought it would happen so I wasn’t AS upset about it. But let’s just not do that.

Anyway, in short, Leigh delivers an astoundingly beautiful end to the Grisha trilogy. It is packed full of action and full of emotion. Even when things are dire, she still manages to squeeze in humor and lines that made me smile. If you haven’t started this series… are we still friends? Just kidding, but seriously. Get on that because this is one fantasy series that I will be rereading!

My Rating: 5 Stars!

I was also able to attend the Fierce Reads tour stop here in Seattle last night! SO much fun and I was so excited to see Leigh again! I also have a signed copy of Ruin and Rising to give away (due to a confusing snafu, I have an extra copy). Rafflecopter below. US/Canada only and winner must respond within 48 hrs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 responses to ““I Am Ruination”


    I agree with all of this. And excellent quote usage.

    I am become the blade…swoooooooooooon. You are so right about Mal. I mean, I liked him okay in Shadow and Bone, despised him in Siege and Storm and then utterly fell in love with him within a few chapters of this book. JUST MY FEELS FOR ALL THESE CHARACTERS AND THIS WORLD MY FEEEEEEEEELS.

  2. Once I win this giveaway (thanks!) I’m totally going to binge read this whole series so I can gush over it with you. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m so glad that you loved the last book! Series enders are tricky and it’s great to hear that this one doesn’t let you down.

  3. I just got into this series about a month ago and I was blown away! I loved the first two so much. Fingers crossed I win! I can’t wait to read the last one. Leigh Bardugo is incredibly talented and i’ve heard great things about Ruin & Rising. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I am SO EXCITED about this book, which is super shocking because I do NOT normally like fantasy. I fell in love with this series pretty quickly though. How could I not? With the mysterious Darkling and sexy Sturmhond, I was a goner after just a few chapters! 🙂 So happy to hear that you loved it!!

  5. So I just skimmed the review because I haven’t even read book 1 yet… I know! Sheesh! But I read enough to get the gist. This one is awesome! Since you loved it so much I think I need to bump it up to the top of my list!