Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The basics

Title: Ruin and Rising


Series: The Grisha #3

- Shadow and Bone (May 2012)
- Siege and Storm (June 2013)
- Ruin and Rising (June 2014)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo below. If you can’t remember what happened in Ruin and Rising and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in Ruin and Rising?

  • Alina and the other Grisha are hiding out in an underground church called the White Cathedral. This hideout is managed by the Apparat.
  • Alina is currently unable to use her powers because of the fight with the Darkling in Siege and Storm.
  • The Apparat is super controlling, and he won’t let Alina leave or contact her friends.
  • Alina is able to pretend her powers are still viable by using mirrors. The crowd believes it.
  • Alina speaks with Genya, although the Apparat tries to stop her as they think Genya is ruined. Alina and Genya are able to fill each other in on what has been happening.
  • Until, that is, the Apparat interrupt, bringing Alina’s friends along with them. Apparently the Apparat thinks the group is planning an escape. I mean… probably.
  • Alina gets a group of Grisha together. She asks the Soldat Sol for loyalty and brands Vladim Ozwal with her handprint.
  • The group are able to escape and head for the surface, where they encounter a group of hunters.
  • One of them is Nikolai, though, so it’s all good.
  • They all head to an abandoned observatory called the Spinning Wheel, where Nikolai has set up a base.
  • The reunited group discuss how they plan to find the third amplifier, the firebird. They think it’s in Dva Stolba.
  • Alina is able to take some time to train with Baghra. Baghra teaches Alina to use the Cut. Alina slowly gains her powers back and cuts off the top of a mountain range.
  • Seems entirely normal.
  • Baghra reveals that she is Morozova’s daughter and tells Alina her story. Baghra used the Cut on her own sister because she was jealous, and Morozova had to bring her back from the dead.
  • Obviously the villagers were upset by this as it’s unnatural, and they drowned Morozova and his daughter.
  • Genya reveals that she has been abused by the king of Ravka. Nikolai says he will either be punished or exiled.
  • Sergei is a massive traitor and tells the Darkling where the group is hiding out. The Darkling arrives at the Spinning Wheel, and he and his minions attack.
  • During the battle, Nikolai is caught and turned into a shadow solider sob. Adrik gets his arm bitten off, and Baghra draws the Darkling’s attention and sacrifices herself.
  • All in all, not a good time.
  • Most of the others are able to escape and head to the Bittern. They start their journey to Dva Stolba to find the firebird.
  • They reach Dva Stolba. The group splits up. Half of them go to find somewhere to stay the night, while Alina, Zoya, and the rest go to find the firebird. Mal is a tracker so he’s able to lead them.
  • Not very successfully though, because they spend a week searching before they realise that Mal is actually the third amplifier. JFC Mal, you had one job.
  • Turns out that Baghra’s sister and their father survived the drowning. Mal is one of her descendants, and her powers were passed on through the generations. This is why Mal is a tracker. Not because he has any talent or anything.
  • The two groups reunite.
  • Alina is informed that the Darkling has attacked West Ravka and Keramzin. She speaks to the Darkling using their shared connection. He shows her all the people and Grisha he has killed.
  • The Darkling threatens that he will enter the Shadow Fold in five days’ time, and thus gain massive amounts of power.
  • It’s probably not a good idea to tell people your plan.
  • The group heads to the Fold. They find the Darkling’s skiffs already there, and they’re captured.
  • Alina distracts the Darkling and escapes, but not before getting shot in the arm.
  • She ends up in the darkness of the Fold and she can’t see anything. It’s okay though because Mal is a super good tracker and finds her.
  • Alina stabs Mal.
  • Alina loses her powers. So does everyone else.
  • Alina realises that the third amplifier amplifies the Sun Summoner’s powers.
  • All the good guys start shining brightly, which lights up the Fold and destroys it.
  • The Darkling goes into a bit of a rage but Alina stabs him in the chest. He asks to be buried in an unmarked grave.
  • Nikolai is turned back into a human. Or so we think.
  • Tolya and Tamar heal Mal, unfortunately, and he lives.
  • Nikolai becomes the new king of Ravka because he deserves it.
  • Everyone pretends that Alina died in battle, but instead she and Mal get married and head back to the town where they were raised. They take over the orphanage. They’ve lost their powers.
  • It’s the stupidest ending ever.

Anything else

Grisha: People with special powers.
First Army: The “regular” army.
Second Army: The army consisting of Grisha.

Opricknik: The Darkling’s guard.
Corporalki: The heighest of the Grisha. Heartrenders and Healers.
Etherealki: Grisha who can move certain things. Squallers, Inferni and Tidemakers.
Materialki: Grisha with material powers. Alkemi and Durasts.

Shadow Fold/Unsea: A “sea” created by the Black Heretic, inhabited by Volcra (monsters who were once human).
Keramzin: The orphanage Alina and Mal grew up.
Ravka: The country they all live in.
Os Alta: Capital of Ravka
Kribirsk: A city next to the Shadow Fold.

Nichevo’ya: creepy shadow soldiers the Darkling uses.

Thank you for reading our recap of Ruin and Rising! We hope it helped prepare you to read the other books in the Grishaverse, or gave you an insight into where the Shadow and Bone TV show could be heading.

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