Monday, August 10, 2015


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Okay, discussion time. While everyone else is getting in a tizzy over Six of Crows (September 29 release date – eeek), I'm still obsessing over the Grisha series. I managed to review Ruin and Rising without giving away major plot points, but as we all know, it's actually impossible – improbable, not impossible – to talk about the third book in a trilogy without any spoilers.

And I want talk about Ruin and Rising because, I mean, it's 422 pages of mind-blowing, soul-killing storytelling. (Just kidding about the soul-killing. Sort of.) (Also, it's been an entire week since I've talked about the Grisha books on my blog, so I figured it was time.)

So, without further ado… SPOILER ALERT. (For all two of you who still haven't read these books.)

Here's what really happens in Ruin and Rising.

I develop a crush on Zoya, who is one unflustered, bad bitch with the best, best, best sense of humor.

I grow to appreciate and respect Mal, which is frankly the most surprising reaction I have to this book because he's had his work cut out for him since Book 1. That time everyone is scared and lost, and he speaks in that calm, steady voice like a goddamned savior! (Sorry for the language. But goddamn!) When he nonchalantly and repeatedly lets himself be beat up emotionally because he believes he and Alina are on two different tracks and he's not going to be enough for her: "No money. No army. No mountaintop stronghold. This is all I have to offer. The same old trick." Mal, you standup guy! I just want to hug you!

I shriek internally from the little snippets of dialogue between Alina and the Darkling. When he says, "What have you come here for, Alina?" and she answers, "I wanted to see you." It ruins me!

I flutter when Alina first appears to the Darkling in the throne room and he drops everything for her and tells everyone to get out. (By the way, is this not how being a sensate works? More or less? Should Leigh Bardugo just be a showrunner for Netflix in her spare time, after she's written Nikolai's book?)

I cry a lot because Alina is drawn to the Darkling and the Darkling is drawn to Alina but some things cannot be fixed, and some paths are impossible to turn back from, no matter how much you wish otherwise.

I continue to cry because what kind of mindset must the Darkling be in when he journeys to Alina's childhood home? He shows her what he's done and he feels no remorse and maybe I'm reading too deeply into it but I can't help but think he's shut off all emotion and refuses to focus on anything but Alina, because to let his mind wander elsewhere is too painful and he's already been shattered beyond repair.

I reluctantly accept that Alina ends up with exactly who she should end up with. But even if he's the right one for her, even if he is the best choice for her life, it still makes me sad to see those other possibilities fall away, the way the Fates cut the thread of life – you can never get it back. Leigh Bardugo describes it the best: the ache of loss, knowledge deep and final as the tolling of a bell: Something good has gone.

I fall to the floor and throw a tantrum at that line about the Darkling pulling on the tether that binds Alina to him, and how she will not go to him, not now or ever, but how she knows in her heart of hearts that he is grieving. Hi, Leigh Bardugo, did you mean to tear my heart into shreds? If so, you succeeded. Congratulations on being the worst/best.

I fall deeper and deeper in love with Nikolai. There's the Nikolai who hides behind his grace and wit. The Nikolai who uses humor to shroud his vulnerability. The Nikolai who just wants his friends nearby once all has been said and done because he's gone through something so traumatizing that it's left a shadow in his heart.

I ship Nikolai and Baghra. (BAGHRA!!!)

I ship Nikolai and David.



Nikolai. (When will there a book about Nikolai?)

Also: "Who had combed his dark hair back so neatly from his forehead? Who had folded his graceful hands on his chest?" "No grave for them to desecrate." "Speak my name once more." "Don't let me be alone." Crying forever. It's been real.