Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After an epic battle against the Darkling, Alina is now found in an underground community lead by the priest who is a bit obsessed with Alina being a Saint, along with her followers. Even though she is there to be protected from the Darkling, Alina is being kept there almost against her will. She wants to leave, but the priest is insistent that she has to stay with her people to give them hope for the future.
After some scheming and explosions, she is able to leave the confines of the White Cathedral and continue her mission to find the third and final amplifier so she can finally face and defeat the Darkling once and for all. But her Second Army has been reduced to a dozen people, and she is not feeling very confident that she will be able to reach her destination in time.
Thankfully, Prince Nikolai was able to help her group out when they were in a bind and they were able to create a plan in action with the man power behind their solution.
But of course, Alina's connect with the Darkling caused a lot of problems for her group, and she was forced to be separated from some of her friends to find the third amplifier. However, she treks on and hopes that she can save Ravka in the end, because the alternative ending is not something she wants to think about.
Alina is going to have to make a lot of very hard sacrifices, though, in order to figure out the true way to defeat the Darkling. Some she may not be willing to make in the end.
There are so many twists and turns in this novel!!! Seriously! Just when I think that I know what is going on, Bardugo changes it up on me and makes me doubt everything I thought I figured out. And I definitely didn't see the big surprise coming until it was written down right in front of my face, so kudos to Bardugo for keeping me on my toes!
I wasn't really rooting for any of the guys after Alina: the Darkling, Mal, or Prince Nikolai. They all had their pros and cons so I wasn't really determined for a specific one to be with Alina in the end. Actually, I though Alina was going to have a different fate than the one she got in the end, which might have been the reason I couldn't picture her with any of them.
I do have to say that I was very happy with the ending. It kept me guessing and it was fresh and unique among many of the YA dystopian/fantasy books I've read recently.
Even though I thought the second book in this series was boring, I definitely didn't think that this one was! I was entertained during the whole book and I couldn't put it down at all!
I am so glad that I got to read this series and so glad that I finally listened to my coworker about giving this series a try! It's one of my top favorite books and eventually I will own my own copies of the books :)
Now I'm excited to dive into the companion series "Six of Crows" since it's in the same world as this series!
I will definitely be recommending this book to other YA readers! :)
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