(Spoiler) Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

22535408Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Indigo Books
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Series: Shadow and Bone (#1), Siege and Storm (#2)
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Author | Amazon

P L O T
In the final book of the Grisha Trilogy, Alina and Mal must hunt for the final amplifier in hopes of destroying the Darkling and his power once of for all. Full of action, tragedy and the occasion sweet kiss, Ruin and Rising is one of the best series finales I’ve ever read.

The characters have reached their climatic peril. It’s all go for the gang. How many other ‘this is it!’ quotes can I put in a plot summary? Basically, we’re in for a wild ride. (Woohoo, cliche counter cracked!)  Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo”

Book Signing: Meeting Leigh Bardugo!

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This was the best event ever!

There, summary complete!

Seriously, though, this was the BEST. We only managed to get tickets for the event two days ago, and weren’t even aware that the signing was happening until this week, so it’s been quite a whirlwind adventure of tracking down ‘Six of Crows’ and meeting one of Bee’s favourite, favourite authors.The event was scheduled from three until five o’clock. We had to pay £3 each for the event, but had no idea what was in store (literally, ahah!) We’d met Sarah J Maas earlier in the year, and for that we were allowed one book signed and one dedicated, with no photo ops and only a badge to remember the event by. THIS signing was unlike anything we’d been to before.

photo 1After running around the entire building to try and find just where they’d decided to hide Leigh Bardugo, we eventually made it to the top floor where seats arranged like a mini theatre, with two chairs stationed at the top. We had no idea how exclusive the event was, and we’d guess there were about 30 people there in total. Luckily, we managed to snag seats in the second row, so our view was fantastic! Also, Leigh is incredible at projecting her voice so no one missed anything she said.

The even started with a reading, probably about 4 pages from roughly the middle of Six of Crows giving us a delicious insight into the relationship between Nina and Mathias, and also an example of her Irish accent! Next there was an interview for about an hour, with really intriguing questions that covered the majority of the basics about the book, the Grishaverse and her writing process.

During the interview process, Maddie decided to whip out her phone and take some notes so that we could remember all of the  quirky details and funny stories that Leigh told, so we’ll share a few:

  • [After using the analogy of the boiling pot and the palette] “Everything about my brain is food!”
  • [About her favourite new character from Six of Crows] “Matthias was the easiest to write because he’s a DRAMA queen.” But her favourite character was either Nina or Kaz.
  • She reiterated a few times how much she disliked researching about boats! “I won’t care about boats and I never will!”
  • For Six of Crows she talked to a guy that had worked for the CIA to get information about impenetrable fortresses, which is a key plot point in the new tale.
  • Six of Crows is going to be a duet – we say duet because Leigh said she didn’t like the word duology (“sounds like some kind of body cream” – which is true) – and even though she said she could have written 12 books in the series, she wants to take a break from the Grisha and experiment with other magic systems. Coming next year, she’s written a short story in the new anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins and talked about how fun it was to write a contemporary (“there’s no death?!”)
  • However, she did promise more kissing in Book 2, not to mention some cameo roles of our favourites from the original trilogy!
  • Grisha is pronounced Gree-sha. The ‘Gen’ in Genya is pronounced like ‘gen’ in ‘genesis’
  • She loves a good love/hate relationship, embodied in Nina and Matthias.
  • The inspiration for Shadow and Bone came from when she was staying in the mountains and she’d fallen asleep only to wake up at sunset and all of the lights were off. It was a house unknown to her so she had no idea where the lights were or where to find the knives to protect herself in her panicked state – she wielded her shoe instead! – which got her thinking about what would happen if it was just dark forever and you couldn’t turn on the lights? What would lurk in the dark and why would people go in there if it was so dangerous? And what power would you need to defeat the darkness and thus Alina and the Darkling were born!
  • Leigh said that she was “drawn to deep moments of darkness”, for example what happens to to the villain in fairytales after the story is over?
  • She claimed she would make a terrible spy, would want to be a heartrender and is a Slytherin. (All of the Crows patroness would have fangs, too, apparently!)
  • After writing a particularly difficult or emotional scene, Leigh would write a large chunk of Matthias/Nina banter.
  • Leigh doesn’t write chronologically (necessarily) and likes to outlines although she won’t always know exact details.

Then the floor was open to everyone else to ask questions! But, we’re going to do a separate blog post on all the interesting, writing advice that Leigh gave us!

photo 7photo 4We both got a copy of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows signed. Leigh asked each of us who our favourite characters were from the Grisha trilogy, and personalised the dedications in our copies accordingly! (Isn’t that such a sweet touch? Bee said Alina and I said Nicolai!) The three of us talked about our unusually American names and their origins, our degree as Creative Writing students and who we wanted Alina to end up with at the end of Ruin and Rising. I got to tell Leigh how Bee recommended the series to me, and how it got me into the high fantasy genre, and Bee got to gush a little about Laini Taylor (any opportunity!) I also got a book recommendation from Leigh, and she compared us to Cath and Wren from Fangirl! (Isn’t that the best compliment ever?!!

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Oh gosh, it was genuinely one of the best afternoons of our lives. We’re so pleased we got to take advantage of the opportunity and that we now have a beautiful book to read, Six of Crows. 

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

SShadow and Bonehadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Indigo
Pages:
308
Format: Paperback
Rating:
★★★.5
Series: Siege and Storm (#1) 
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

I didn’t think I was a massive fan of fantasy, until I realized that the majority of my favourites were, indeed, fantasy. Which is why I am so glad that I picked up Shadow and Bone (although I may have been persuaded to do so because COVER LOVE.)

You’re chucked head first into the world, which even after finishing the book I’m not sure I completely understand. I guess I will just have to fill in any gaps by just rereading, and rereading, and rereading. But, on the other hand, in a fantasy novel that’s almost exactly what you want. You don’t want fifty pages of explanation, and I think Shadow and Bone almost had the ratio of plotline of to backstory completely perfect.

I really liked the main character, Alina, I thought she was head strong and she dealt with her new surroundings and situation extremely well, even though she’d just been horribly separated from her soul mate – we will talk about the ultimate cuteness of Mal later, don’t you worry. I loved being in the Little Palace, despite the Dark undertones (intentional pun.) Genya was also a wonderful addition, because when you lose one best friend then someone has to be there to fill in the slot.

The Grisha powers, although slightly hard to keep track of, were interesting and unique, and the concept of amplifiers kept the story going. I love it when protagonists are actually willing to learn new things, so Alina ticked that box for me. It was very reminiscent of Poison Study by Maria. V. Snyder, especially with the fight training and the alluring but dangerous love interest. I imagine Alina and Yelena being close friends, the similarities between these girls do not stop at the ‘lee-na’ suffix. I’m interested to see where the King ends up at the end of this series because treasonous talk was everywhere. I love some good forSHADOWing. (That one was unintentional.) I’m looking forward to the sequel immensely, and hope that it isn’t just going to be an ‘on-the-run’ sequel, as that could be mildly disappointing, but if necessary then so be it.

Mal. Where to begin? He was wonderful, and I’m so sad that he only had a cameo role in the first half, but was relieved when he was there full force in the final third. I’m quiet partial to a love triangle that is executed well, and liked this one even more because it wasn’t bittersweet as I do not like the Darkling. Well…maybe a little bit. I’ve prepared myself for the likely probability that Alina ends up with my less preferred candidate, but I still hold out hope for Mal. Maybe if he can’t be will Alina then a lovely secondary character will be introduced to pose as his new love interest. Or he dies. But I’d rather not think about that unfortunate scenario.

With such a raving review it might come as bit of a surprise when I say that my star rating is only 3.5 out of five. This is because there were moments were the plot got a tiny bit dry and I had to encourage myself to continue, this was made up by some plot twists and some plot gems that I was not expecting. Overall, I love the characters and am invested enough in their story to continue. Also, the 3.5 was a tactical decision as I have a feeling that the series is only going to get better so rather than saying the series plateaued at 4 stars I can say it was a beautiful journey of a rising incline in the star spangled rating system.