3 Sentence Summary
Ruin & Rising is the final installment of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. As Alina, the Sun Summoner, faces off against the powerful Darkling, the fate of Ravka hangs in the balance. Bardugo’s masterful storytelling transports you to a world of breathtaking landscapes, gripping adventures, and unexpected plot twists, where characters come to life and secrets unravel.
Summary Read Time: Less than 6 minutes
Actual Book Length: 350
First Published in: 2014
Ruin And Rising is the third and final book in the trilogy “Shadow And Bone” book series. Before this, you should read the summary of “Shadow And Bone” and then “Seige & Storm” if you haven’t yet. The trilogy collectively with another 3 spin off books in the same universe are called “Grishaverse“.
The trilogy was adapted into a Netflix TV Series as well. The series was released on April, 2021 and was titled Shadow And Bone itself.
Below is the detailed yet quick Ruin And Rising book summary:
“Ruin and Rising” unfurls with Alina Starkov, the compelling Sun Summoner, residing in an intricate underground city in Ravka. Despite being a potent Grisha with the ability to wield sunlight as a weapon, her powers are stymied by her sunless surroundings and the lingering aftermath of a previous clash with the Darkling.
This adversary, who manipulates darkness and his shadow soldiers, has snatched the throne of Ravka, unsettling the balance of power. The underground haven is overseen by the Apparat, a former royal clergyman who now envisions Alina as a figurehead. However, Alina, dubious of his intentions, resists, navigating a psychic connection with the Darkling borne from their past encounter.
Alina’s loyal comrades, which include the Grisha who followed her underground and her childhood friend Mal, help her reignite her powers. Outwitting the Apparat, they manage to escape the underground city through treacherous tunnels. Above ground, Alina, Mal, and the Grisha scramble to locate their comrade, Nikolai Lantsov, the last remaining heir of the Ravkan royal family. He is their best chance at re-establishing the throne, despite being hidden away due to a narrow escape from the Darkling’s clutches.
In their quest for Nikolai, the group stumbles upon deserters from Ravka’s army who, in turn, hand Alina over to the Darkling. Yet, they’re not without hope; Nikolai swoops in, rescuing Alina and her team from the dire situation, whisking them away to a secluded mountain fortress in his distinctive flying airship.
At the fortress, Alina reconnects with Baghra, her mentor, further honing her summoning prowess. Baghra imparts tales of her father Morozova, a sorcerer of formidable caliber who forged amplifiers, artifacts that enhance a Grisha’s power, and dabbled in the arts of creation and resurrection.
Amidst revelations and accusations involving the former King, Nikolai banishes his father, prepping himself to challenge the Darkling for the Ravkan throne. Nikolai subtly proposes to Alina, despite their mutual lack of romantic feelings. Alina, with a deep-seated love for Mal, faces an internal tug of war. At the fortress, Mal finally confesses his feelings for Alina, battling a sense of unworthiness. Alina, envisioning her political future, tentatively agrees to consider Nikolai’s proposal while continuing her psychological dance with the Darkling.
The crew gears up to depart the fortress, with plans to rally support from West Ravka for Nikolai’s claim to the throne. They also intend to hunt for the third amplifier, a rumored firebird, that could bolster Alina’s summoning powers. But their plans are abruptly thwarted. The Darkling ambushes the fortress, morphing Nikolai into a shadow creature. Baghra, enraged by her son’s actions, plunges off a cliff with the shadow monsters, buying the group some time.
In the nick of time, Alina, Mal, and the remaining Grisha commandeer an airship, making a narrow escape. Alina bends light to render the airship invisible to prying eyes. Nikolai, in his monstrous form, pursues them, leaving Alina hopeful that a fragment of his humanity still lingers, and that she might yet save him.
Part 3: How Did Ruin And Rising End?
In an unexpected turn of events, our team, including Alina, Mal and several Grisha venture into the wilderness in search of the mythical firebird. Their quest leads them to a startling revelation – the firebird is not the third amplifier. The real amplifier is a living being, a descendent of Baghra’s sister – Mal himself. Alina is plunged into despair, knowing that she might have to kill Mal, her love, to harness his power. Amidst this torment, they surrender to their long-restrained affection, their journey back laden with kisses and stolen moments.
The stage is set for the final confrontation with the Darkling, who maliciously targets the orphanage where Alina and Mal were raised, now a nurturing abode for Grisha children. Our heroes, armed with courage and determination, engage the Darkling in the haunting Shadow Fold. Utilizing her invisibility tactics, Alina strives to elude the Darkling. In an emotionally-charged moment, Mal implores Alina to end his life, unlocking his power as an amplifier. With a heavy heart, Alina obliges. Her power soars momentarily before evaporating, leaving every non-magical soldier with the ability to summon light. In a decisive strike, Alina extinguishes the Darkling, annihilating him, his army, and the dreaded Fold.
The aftermath sees Nikolai reverting to his human form and Mal being miraculously resurrected by Alina’s Grisha. Nikolai’s marriage proposals meet a polite decline from Alina, who chooses a life of simplicity with Mal. They return to their hometown, devoting themselves to the restoration of the orphanage and school, providing love and care to the children, symbolic of a new dawn after the storm.