{ Review } Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Read in January 2015

(To me, this book deserves no rating at all, because every single rating seemed unfair – I loved it and hated it, both at the same time – see explanation at the end of this review)

‘‘Na razrusha’ya. E’ya razushost’’. I am not ruined. I am ruination

With that very strong sentence, which by-the-way nearly came out of nowhere, Leigh Bardugo could have almost spoiled the end of her book. How dare she? What the hell happened in her mind when she started typing this ending? I feel cheated, like I’ve been wasting my time and my emotions in this book. Because let’s be honest, Alina and Mal ended up like they started 3 books ago, like random unknown persons, in an orphanage, with almost no contact with those who used to be in their life (except once a year). We are back to the beginning; those books seemed to have served no purpose. Even in the political context, the country is still ruined (always that word) and torn by wars, Alina’s great power had no main use except against the Darkling, Ravka remains weak (and is even weaker than it used to). This is so frustrating, every character that I have grown to love ended up either broken or have lost what made them special.

The only main change is the Darkling’s death, killed by Alina without repenting himself. But once again, I don’t see the point in his death. To me, he is clearly the main character of this book, and I felt that this book was about redemption, that even grudge or greed could be fought at one point. He just died the way he was in the books, we don’t feel like there was any improvement in his behavior, he didn’t grow up. There is no moral for no one here. Not for the Darkling, neither for Alina. He is my love, my dark dark love, but he didn’t redeem, and it disappointed me.

“Once more,” he said. “Speak my name once more.”
He was ancient, I knew that. But in that moment, he was just a boy – brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by an eternity.
“Aleksander.”
His eyes fluttered shut. “Don’t let me be alone,” he murmured.

I have so many scenarios in my head with acceptable ways to end this book. I could have accepted Mal’s death. Or perhaps that somehow, reuniting the three amplifiers would drive the madness out of the Darkling’s head, maybe erase his powers along with Alina’s. I also could have accepted that the Darkling, realizing how wrong his behavior was, tried to erase the fold, scarifying his life in the process. I would have loved that someone threw an attack at Alina and that he jumped in front of her to protect her (he could even have used the sentence “you were meant to be like me”) But I CANNOT accept this ending. I cannot accept his death for no greater purpose.

I was reading this book half for my love Aleksander half for my second love Nikolaï, and once again, I feel like I’ve been deceived. In my last review, I quoted the famous “I want to kiss you. But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him.” and I’ve been longing for this kiss. To me, it was a like promise, a sure thing, that it WILL happen. And now what, this book ends with a broken Nikolaï, afraid of his own shadow, and much less confident on the eve of his coronation. It doesn’t make me feel like Ravka is in good hands (and I never thought that I would someday say that about my Nikolaï).

Basically, how I feel about this book is so strange. Even though I loved some passages (I could even say “some quotes”) a good part of it was kind of boring. I hated that Alina and Mal ended up together, to me there was no chemistry between them, I feel like they are brother and sister, and anything more than that is kind of incestuous. In this Alina should have learned to deserve either N. or D.

“Sometimes our heroes don’t make it to the end”

As for the rating, a 1 or 2 seems too small, a 4 or 5 too high, and a 3 kind of both. So my rating really doesn’t matter here, only my desperate review does.

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Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

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