Discussion Post | Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone #3)

I’d like to welcome back Angie Elle from BaBAMB so we can discuss the final book in the Shadow & Bone trilogy!

We both enjoyed the series, and we can’t wait to share our thoughts with you!  Don’t forget to follow the link at the bottom of this post and visit Angie!  She’s got plenty more to share!

*Please be advised that since this is a discussion, there will be spoilers.

Ruin and Rising

About the Book: The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Shadow and Bone #3
YA Fantasy
Henry Holt and Company | June 17, 2014
amazon2 bn2


Part 1

Since this is a finale and there’s a lot to cover, let’s jump right in! This book kicks off right where the second book ended; Alina underground under the Apparat’s thumb. Did the fact that Alina was deceiving the ‘pilgrims’ bother you?

Birdie: No, not at all.  She wasn’t deceiving them in a villainous way.  She was acting as they needed her to act.  She was giving them something to believe in and hope for.  And she cared about them.

Angie Elle: I agree; I feel like she was pressured into it by the Apparat, and was too weak to fight him on it.

Birdie: Oh, definitely.  I also think she got to a place where she realized it was needed.  They needed to believe she was a ‘Saint’.

What did you think of the Apparat in this book? Was he what you thought he was going to be?

Birdie: I pretty much hated him.  I knew he wasn’t ‘bad’ in the first book, but the way he was written still felt untrustworthy, and he really lived up to that.

Angie Elle: I didn’t hate him; he had a front row seat to The Darkling’s power, and I think he was desperate. People who are desperate do what they need to do to survive. I wish he’d played a more pivotal role in how the storyline wrapped up, and I would have loved a twist where he was one of Morozova’s descendants. I just wish he’d been a more central character all around and that his heart had been more pure.

Birdie: Isn’t it interesting that I saw more in the Darkling, and hated the Apparat, and you were vice versa.  Isn’t that always how we fall. 😀

Angie Elle: Haha! ALWAYS!

Do you think that Alina was right to blame herself because of what happened to her army at the end of the second book?

Birdie: I don’t think it was Alina’s fault at all.  It was Nikolai’s brothers fault, 100%.  Alina did everything she could to keep people safe, but essentially they were all betrayed by stupidity.

Angie Elle: I fully agree. I can see why she would blame herself, because there was a lot of pressure on her as the Sun Summoner, and she had really never had people depend on her before. It had to be a huge blow to her that all those people lost their lives. But she wasn’t at fault for it. Ugh – Nikolai’s brother got off way too easily.

Birdie: Yes he did.  And I agree with you.  I don’t blame Alina, but if I were in her shoes I would probably blame myself.

How did your feelings about The Darkling change throughout this series, if they even did?

Angie Elle: No. They never wavered. I thought he was intriguing, but I never liked him much. He was too motivated by bitterness for me to ever get attached to him.

Birdie: They kind of fluctuated actually.  In the beginning, I thought that there was some hidden good in him.  In the second book he did some really horrible things and I realized, even if there was a smidge of good inside, there was no bringing him back.  THEN, in the third book, there were moments that I felt sad for him.  I think I felt a lot like Alina did in the end.  My feelings for his character were complicated.

Other than Alina, Mal or The Darkling, were they any standout characters?

Birdie: Angie you called it.  I ended loving Zoya.  I liked the transition her character too, especially in how her and Alina treated each other.  I really liked Baghra, again for that story arc.  She was a character of depth.

Angie Elle: I liked Harshaw. Was he loyal, or wasn’t he? Is he going to stay with Alina or not? I liked the guessing game with him. I also liked Nikolai, preferably when he was Sturmhold.

Birdie: How could I forget Nikolai!  YES, he was my favorite character.  Both Sturmhold and Nikolai.  I liked Harshaw too, actually.  I especially loved when he would talk to Oncat.

Angie Elle: Yes, I loved Oncat!

What were your thoughts on the location of the third Amplifier?

Birdie: I was NOT happy!  The moment I read where the third amplifier was I was horrified.  I could only see the horrible way the book would end, and if it weren’t for needing to have it ready for this discussion, I may have put off reading the end for a while.  My anxiety is too high for a twist like that.

Angie Elle: Ummm…that was a jaw dropping moment for me. My heartbeat was accelerating, and I was devastated. I couldn’t wait to read more to see what was going to happen. But I think there could have been more emotion written in the story to highlight what a sacrifice this was going to be. It was almost too easy the way Alina accepted it.

Birdie: I think that’s why I was freaking out.  Like, it felt like that was the end we were driving too, the death of the being that held the last amplifier.  I was so upset.  Especially after what happened to my boy Nikolai!

Angie Elle: Yes, I agree. And I expected it to feel more dire.

To be continued…

You know you want to read more!  What did Birdie and Angie think of the ending?  Were we satisfied?  Did we like where Alina ended up?

For those answers and more, make sure to visit Angie Elle at BaBAMB!


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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