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

Today Birdie Bookworm and I wrap up our discussion of the Shadow and Bone series. You may notice we missed the second discussion (AND this one is late,) and that’s all on me and my real life creeping in right now. But we’re back to share our thoughts on the last installment (spoiler – IT WAS INTENSE!) and we have a lot to say! But first things first – below is the second half of our discussion. If you want to start at the beginning and read the first half, you can find that on Birdie Bookworm’s blog here! And I will be posting my review for the second book in the series, Siege and Storm, when things settle down a bit. But if you want to read a good review on the story, I urge you to check out Birdie’s review for it here. As for our thoughts on Ruin and Rising, let’s jump right in!

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Shadow and Bone #3
Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date | June 17th, 2014

 

Book Blurb:

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.

| Our Discussion |

Were you surprised about Baghra’s revelations?

Birdie Bookworm: Yes and no. I had a feeling that there was more to The Darklings history. I knew there was a secret about his heritage somewhere, so I wasn’t surprised to find out where he came from. However, the actual story that Baghra told was surprising in how sad it made me for her. I think it’s part of what made her one of my favorite characters.

Angie: Not really, and to be honest, I didn’t feel that was very impactful. I feel like it came too late to make to a difference to how I felt about The Darkling, even to the point of feeling compassion for him. I think this is something that could have been revealed in the second book (which, quite frankly, could have used more meat,) and I may have felt more for The Darkling.

Birdie Bookworm: Interesting… I didn’t think it was supposed to make me feel compassion for the Darkling. I saw it as more about giving insight into Baghra. Why she was how she was, and why she tried so hard to save her son. She felt as though she was the one who poisoned him.

Many readers were unhappy with the end, why do you think they were unhappy?

Birdie Bookworm: I think it comes down to who Alina was with, personally. Reading reviews, he didn’t seem very popular. And I don’t think people like to read their beloved characters in a less than perfect ending. I don’t think it suited people’s ideas of a happy ending.

Angie: I haven’t really read many reviews because I just finished the book, but I know a lot of people shipped Alina and The Darkling. I can only assume they wanted there to be a way for he and Alina to be together. That obviously didn’t happen, and I’m happy about that.

Birdie Bookworm: Ditto. I just also think they wanted her to retain her powers and be Queen.

Angie: Yes, I think that’s true, too. But I really think their ending was perfect for them. I loved it!

A lot of readers shipped Alina and The Darkling. Was there a point throughout this series when you did? If not, who were you shipping?

Birdie Bookworm: I never shipped Alina and The Darkling. I had hoped for more depth to his character, but only because I like a villain that you can sympathize with. I think it adds so much more to the story. I always shipped Alina and Mal, from the first book. If for some reason it wouldn’t be Mal, then I could settle for Nickolai.

Angie: Nope. Not for a single second. In fact, I never felt the connection between them. If the author was ever going for a romantic element (however slight it was supposed to be,) The Darkling should have been giving way more page time. I was Alina and Mal all the way. I loved their connection, and I just thought it was so solid and beautiful throughout the entire series. And I agree – I wish his character had had more depth. I was really surprised by how little time we spent with The Darkling in this installment.

As finales go, how do you feel this one was? Were there any loose ends left that you felt should have been tied up better?

Birdie Bookworm: For as anxious as was about how the book would end, I was pretty satisfied.  I thought that all the characters ended up in the best places. Alina in particular ended up exactly how I wanted her to. There was one loose end for me, but I don’t think it was really a big deal. It was more about me wanting to read a happy ending for Nikolai. After everything he went through and fought for, he deserved something wonderful.

Angie: I thought it was a decent ending, and for me, that was the most fantastical part of the story – that Alina and Mal could go back to their everyday lives – with scars, of course – and proceed to go on together. I loved that they got that, particularly Mal. I feel like they were both put through the wringer in this story, and this was the perfect ending for them. I also feel like things were sort of left open for Nikolai, so that if the author wanted, perhaps she could go back and expand his story…

Birdie Bookworm: I really hope she does.

Angie: For your sake, I do, too! 😉

So this wraps up our very first book discussion! We really hope you liked it. Overall, the Shadow and Bone series was great kick-off to our new feature, and we can’t wait to read more books together and share our discussions with you. Be on the lookout for our next read-along discussion, and if you have any suggestions for what we could read, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll be sure to check them out! If you’ve read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, we’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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