Trilogies, or any multi-volume story-telling, can be tricky. No matter how good the initial offering, readers can lose “reading momentum” in the wait between volumes and/or dislike the developments in the middle books, and never read through to the conclusion. Or, the alternative can happen where readers will love and enjoy the material so much that their expectations will dwarf anything the writer can reasonably accomplish, leaving readers disappointed (at best) with the resolution. And then there are the exceptions those stories that grab you from the very beginning, build with each volume and end with an satisfying conclusion.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is the latter, for me. The trilogy began with Shadow and Bone, which was followed up by Siege and Storm. Ruin and Rising, the final book in the trilogy, is almost a textbook example of how an author should end a trilogy.
Alina Starkov, the long awaited “Sun-Summoner,” has survived her latest encounter with The Darkling and his niechyvoya, the Darkling’s “shadow warriors," but just barely. As she recovers from the battle, hiding in the tunnels beneath Ravka with a small group of friends and allies, the Apparrat has continued to proselytize anyone and everyone he can convince to follow "Sankta Alina," causing the numbers of her followers to swell. Alina, however, has become obsessed with the Fire Bird, the third amplifier for her power and, she believes the only way she will be able to defeat The Darkling is to destroy the fold and reunite Ravka. Alina knows that finding the Fire Bird and securing the amplifier will be difficult, as well as potentially dangerous for her and those around her--but is she really prepared for what securing--and using--the third amplifier will cost her?
Ruin and Rising wraps up the issues raised in the earlier works, while providing new challenges, revelations, and character development. Every time you believe you have figured out how the story will progress and conclude, Bardugo deftly adds or reveals something that changes everything you thought you knew. And the last 100 pages of the book are simply too good to put down. Ruin and Rising is a roller-coaster ride of a novel, in the company of all the friends and enemies you'd met earlier in the journey to love, hate, or love to hate!