Aristocrat’s Ransom: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

August 2, 2014 Review 18 ★★★★

Aristocrat’s Ransom: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Source: Purchased
Pages: 417
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Series: The Grisha #3
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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.

bec (2)

Major Selling Points:

Series Conclusion

Series conclusions are some of the scariest books to read. So many things could happen, so many things could go wrong. It has the potential to be so painful… and really awesome. Yet there’s always that part of you that’s scared the ending will be a disappointment. RUIN AND RISING ended in the way I expected overall, but the path we took to get there and the twists that came along the way were mostly a surprise with plenty of character death (none that resulted in tears however).


It is no secrete that Nikolai is my favourite character in the entire series. He’s just so entertaining and amazing and so different from the other two big male characters in the books. I really want my own Nikolai just to provide entertainment and comments and invent things with all day.


GUYS SOME OF THE PLOT TWISTS IN THIS BOOK OMG. Particularly a few in the middle. They were so shocking and fantastic (in that brilliant way that makes you really scared for the characters). Favourite part of the entire story I think. The story did take a little while to get moving, and the overall ending was what I expected, which disappoints me a little, and the final fight while badass felt quite brief.  There were also some convenient solutions to problems which annoyed me at times. BUT THE TWISTS.


I can’t believe I forgot how humorous the writing was in these books. Mal and Alina had some nice little banter moments, and Nikolai! He always makes you snicker. In addition to making me laugh, I felt that all the magic and fight scenes and twists were written really well.



Alina stepped up her game a bit in here. She’s been forced into a position of  power and leadership but handles it surprisingly well I think. Some of the things she does are great. She has to struggle with so many different things and I think overall I’m proud of her. But there were times when she’d hesitate and bad things would come about because of that hesitation and even though I know it’s part of her development sometimes I wished she’d stop doubting herself/her friends/whatever and just do what had to be done.


Well good news is Mal is less annoying in RUIN AND RISING than he was in SIEGE AND STORM. It seems he’s sorted out the majority of his jealously issues, but now he had other issues which were almost as frustrating. I always liked Mal as a character. He’s a nice guy. But as a love interest he annoys me as much as the Darkling really.


I feel like the black sheep sometimes when it comes to the Darkling. So many people love him and I don’t particularly care. To me he’s quite the creepy megalomaniac and I can’t get behind that. There’s nothing he’s done that makes him even remotely attractive to me. Although there were moments in RUIN AND RISING that made me feel sorry for him.


The romance was never one of the main reasons I read this series. The magic and the world are of much greater interest to me that that silly love triangle, the overall result of which was basically what I predicted. Maybe if I liked the two guys better I would have enjoyed the romance more… Fortunately the romance developing between some of the side characters was amazing. And I have to say DAMN DAVID! That was a gorgeous little speech you had. The sweetest moment in the entire series.


  • Genya x David
  • Tamar x Natalie
  • More books x Nikolai
Rating Report
Overall: 4

18 Responses to “Aristocrat’s Ransom: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo”

    • Bec

      Everyone needs more Nikolai!

      YES!! Exactly. The Darkling is insanely interesting, but he’s still a massive creep.

  1. Olivia (Bookcomet)

    I’ve always thought this series looks so awesome. I actually bought myself a copy of Shadow and Bone a few weeks ago but they cancelled my order and I was rather heartbroken. Especially since it was only $6 at the time. Series conclusions scare me quite a bit. I mean, you know people are going to die. It usually seems to be a given. And sometimes there’s that lovely (annoying) cliffhanger at the end of the previous book that I’m worried about find out more about. Yeah I must say, you are the only person I’ve seen who has not gushed over the Darkling. But from that description I can see why.
    Olivia (Bookcomet) recently posted…To All the Books I’ve Loved Before

    • Bec

      Aw that sucks. And it was a great deal too :( Hopefully you can find another copy soon!

      The cliffhangers in this series aren’t as bad as some others I’ve read, but you’re still lucky in that the series has finished so you won’t ever have to wait too long!

      Everyone else seems to love the Darkling. I just can’t.

    • Bec

      I know what you mean! She definitely improves over the series.

      The romance is till a pretty big part of the series, but it’s definitely not the main focus. If it was I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy these books so much.

  2. Tanja

    LOL at more books x Nikolai. I mean we all want that! But I had no idea that this thing will end like this. I really believed we’ll get something different so I was really surprised and some twists were amazing. I did like Darkling and I think that this was the best end he could get. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…The Sunday Post (#18)

    • Bec

      It was more the love triangle outcome that I predicted than the actual plot. There were some great twists in there! Lots of shocking challenges the characters had to overcome. Everyone got a pretty good ending :)

  3. Emily @ Forever Literary

    Can you believe that I STILL haven’t read this trilogy? I have heard amazing things, but it takes a lot to get me to read a fantasy book. Your review is pushing me toward reading it, though – especially your description of the plot twists. I love unexpected events (who doesn’t?) and am growing more intrigued. But the convenient solutions don’t sound nearly as fun. *indecisively debates reading this series*
    Emily @ Forever Literary recently posted…Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

    • Bec

      No, not crazy. I mean, I still haven’t read Harry Potter so who am I to criticise you?

      Ah, I understand. Don’t let me pressure you if you’re not a big fan of fantasy! It’s my favourite genre so I love to fangirl about it. Shadow and Bone is a pretty easy fantasy to get into though, even if there’s a few convenient solutions. At least there’s some awesome twists to balance it out XD

  4. Rachel

    I’d LOVE another series by Bardugo centering around Nikolai ;) I was disappointed with the end of the trilogy, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! Mal was a bit less annoying (thank gosh). Yeah the main ship was pretty obvious from the beginning and I totally shipped David and Genya more. That speech was adorable <3 Great review!
    Rachel recently posted…Review ~ Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

    • Bec

      I’m secretly hoping Nikolai will make an appearance in the next trilogy because it is set in the same world…

      David and Genya were probably the best couple! So cute.

      Thanks :)

  5. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    More books x Nikolai” <– BAHAHA! YES! xD

    I liked Shadow and Bone, but I was a bit disappointed with Siege and Storm, so I’m definitely a bit hesitant about reading this one. Your review has really intrigued me though! :D I’m glad to hear that Mal is less annoying in this than he was in Siege and Storm though, and that Alina is well-developed here.

    Thanks for sharing Bec, and BRILLIANT review! Definitely excited to read this now that I’ve read your review. xD
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Heir of Fire Review + Giveaway!

  6. Andreea

    I bought the first book a month ago and I need to read it soon, but I’m experiencing another reading slump, so we’ll see when I’ll get to it. But I’ve heard nothing but great things about this trilogy!

    • Bec

      Aw no :( Reading slumps suck. I hope you get out of it soon. And you never know, Shadow & Bone might be the book to drag you out of it XD

  7. Kelly

    I agree about the Darkling. I think the words I used to describe him were “compelling antagonist,” but I always found it a little strange that people were super invested in him as a love interest.
    Kelly recently posted…Mini- Reviews

    • Bec

      That is a very good description of him! I can understand the scenes that people attach to and make them think he’s a good love interest, but the overall picture… just no.

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