I’ve been really bad about finishing series lately. I used to start a series and read all the way through to the end back to back, not so much anymore for reasons I don’t get, but whatever. Point is, I FINALLY FINISHED A SERIES! This one took a bit of hyping up for me to finish mainly because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous two books. That being said, I actually enjoyed “Ruin and Rising” a lot more than its predecessors. In the final book, we watch Alina prepare for the final confrontation with the Darkling as she hunts down the last ampliphier. Along the way, she has to make a decision about Mal, Nikolai, and what to do with being a “saint”, and that’s on top of the unexpected twist at the end.
I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book more is that Mal was less… Mal in this story. He didn’t whine as much or begrudge Alina her power. He was an actual partner to her, showing growth I honestly didn’t think he was capable of. I still don’t like that he was allowed to sleep with whomever he wanted, but then got butt hurt over a prince wooing Alina, but whatever. Zoya also didn’t annoy me as much in this book, she felt more defined and her arrogant personality was better established so it didn’t grate on me nearly as often. I will say that Nikolai and The Darkling still carried this book, nay, this series for me, but that’s ok! Nikolai is just as charming and deliciously cocky (for the most part, poor boy) and The Darkling will forever be one of my favorite villains.
I probably felt more deeply for The Darkling and what happens to him then I should have. I know I got more pangs and maybe even the stray tear over his situation then I did over another character’s plight. Out of all the characters in this series, and that includes Alina who we only ever get the perspective of, I always felt The Darkling was the most well rounded. He’s got a depth to him that makes him truly tragic. Sure, he’s still a murderous bastard and would bring only destruction and darkness (ha) to Ravka, but he’s not, and never was, just a mustache twirling villain who wanted to take over the world simply because he was evil. I unapologetically love him, fight me. I also read his prequel story, and it was absolutely wonderful and heart wrenching, so I do recommend you read that after finishing “Ruin and Rising”.
While I didn’t really see the twist that this book had coming, even though I suspected something from the onset, I did see the ultimate conclusion of this series from a mile off. It’s a normal YA fantasy in that regard. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, and I may just have aged out of this to be honest, but I didn’t love the ending and how sort of cliché it became. But even despite that, I did enjoy this story and thought the pacing was well done and never felt that this book was too long (even if it's chapters were very long), which is why I am giving it 4 stars. Ultimately, I say read this series if only to better appreciate the Six of Crows series and the upcoming Netflix show (which I honestly cannot wait for!).
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