Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14061957-ruin-and-rising
In a nutshell: Deep in the bowels of the White Cathedral, Alina and her band of ragtag Grisha stand as the only hope to defeating The Darkling and saving Ravka, but doing so involves a dangerous quest to find the remaining amplifier, the elusive firebird, and Alina may have to sacrifice nearly everything to save her world.
I'd recommend it to grades: 10 and up (violence and romantic content)
I'd recommend it to: high fantasy fans and anyone who loves a good old-fashioned romantic adventure with a kick-butt heroine
What I liked most about this book: Leigh Bardugo has a way of weaving pain, humor, adventure, and beauty throughout every element of a story: the language, the setting, the characters, the plot; it's all just spectacular. It's been a while since I've been satisfied with the ending of a series I've grown to love, and this one did not disappoint. It's sheer perfection, and now I want to go back and reread them all from the beginning. I'm just going to say it; it's my favorite YA series since Harry Potter. I know no greater compliment. :)
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There's so much I can't say because I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just leave this gorgeous passage here: "Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay. I tilted my head back. The stars looked like they were close together, when really they were millions of miles apart. In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach" (234).
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): ALL THE STARS!!!