Monday, March 9, 2015

Ruins and Rising. (the Grisha trilogy)

Bardugo, Leigh.  Ruins and Rising.  (the Grisha trilogy)  Macmillan/Henry Holt      2014  422p  $18.99  ISBN 978-0-8050-9461-9      hs    Fantasy     VG-BN

The cover art of Ruins and Rising includes the stag, a sea serpent, and a firebird, which symbolize the amplifiers Alina sought in earlier volumes.  In the third installment of the Grisha trilogy, Alina continues to search for Morosova’s last amplifier, the phoenix, while coming to terms with the power she wields and choosing which love interest (Mal or Nikolai) will ultimately win her heart.  The Darkling continues to harrass Alina at every turn, but it is apparent that he, too, has feelings for her. 

The tone of Ruins and Risin
g differs significantly from that of the earlier volumes; it is darker and harsher.  Readers invested in the series may be disappointed when Alina ultimately clings to Mal and we see both Nikolai and the Darkling destroyed.  Alina rejects the crown, power, and her home, all enormous personal sacrifices, in order to save the country and live a very ordinary life. 

Even readers who have not read Siege and Storm or Shadow and Bone will be carried along by the fast-moving, action-packed plot of Ruin and Rising.  Those who have read the earlier books may be surprised when innocents die, or many of their favorite characters perish.
  Bardugo leaves very few loose ends. Though the plot begs for a happy ending, the ending Bardugo supplies is plausible.

The Grisha series is very readable high fantasy.  Fans of these books will be gratified to learn that two more spin-off stories set in the same world are to be published in the near future.        

Summary: The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.  Alina forges new alliances as she and Mal search for Morosova’s last amplifier.  But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that alters her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields.  

Fantasy-Fiction                                             --Hilary Welliver

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