Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2 (2/3)
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on June 5, 2013
Genres: [Young Adult] High/Epic Fantasy
4 Stars, Completed June 25, 2015
– contains minor SPOILERS –
I honestly still have no clue how I feel about this book. So prepare to read a confusing review. Oh, and I hate using caps in my reviews but it was (sort of) necessary for this one.
Siege and Storm begins with Alina and Mal on the run after the events of Shadow and Bone. At the end of the first installment, Alina makes a vow to leave the Grisha life. However, the Darkling’s advice about Mal never being able to understand her innate Grisha gifts and the loneliness that comes with immortality starts to settle in, and Alina is beginning to have doubts. Alina’s even more confused about her own feelings when she learns that another amplifier exists. She’s not sure whether her motivation to seek out the Sea Whip is fueled by her desire to stop the Darkling from controlling her and ruining Ravka further or whether it’s for her own avarice. And it troubles her that this possible greed ties her to the Darkling and his selfish endeavors. Siege and Storm is another story focusing on the battle to free Ravka, but this time Alina has to fight the war between right and wrong raging in her mind as well.
So I remember being plain upset by the time I finished. Mainly, for three reasons: there was so little of the Darkling, my gosh the bizarre pacing (LEIGH, WHY DO YOU ALWAYS PACK A BUTTLOAD OF PLOT TOWARDS THE END? MY HEART CANNOT TAKE IT.), and Alina’s angsty emotions (miserable characters can make miserable readers).
From my review of Shadow and Bone you guys may have been able to identify my absolute love for the Darkling. Yes, he’s manipulative and evil, but I have always had faith that deep down the Darkling is just a lonely, lost boy. Therefore I feel like if he could get past with his greed for power, Alina could be his healing companion. (YES, I AM A DARKLING/ALINA SHIPPER.) So you guys can imagine how disappointed I was when the Darkling made one* (ONE!) actual (you know what I mean if you’ve read S&S) appearance. So that is the main source as to why I’m deducting a huge star as petty as that sounds.
The weird pacing was there but it wasn’t a huge issue for me. Like Shadow and Bone, the beginning was entertaining but it was on the slower side and not much happened. It didn’t pick up until Sturmhond was introduced (but I may be a tad biased and just think that way because I happen to enjoy his scenes a lot), but when it did the story moved very fast. And as I mentioned in my S&B review, Alina wasn’t a special character or one that stood out for me. In this installment, she was much more mopey (for good reason though) but I wasn’t of fan of it.
What saved this book for me was the many awesome characters introduced. I loved Tolya and Tamar. And prior to starting this, so many readers (thanks, Miguel!) warned me of Sturmhond. So I went into it mentally prepared, and thank goodness that I did. Sturmhond is one of those characters that every reader loves and easily steals the stage presence of all the other characters if this was a drama. He’s clever, witty, and normal. It was really refreshing to have a mundane, non-Grisha character that was still strong in strategy and combat. He’s also really mysterious (in a different way from the Darkling) and it was interesting to learn all of his identities. And his suggestive and flirtatious nature was fun (I still remain a Darkling/Alina shipper though.)
So I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this book less than Shadow and Bone; it still was a fantastic adventure. I definitely recommend this to people that loved Shadow and Bone. As for those that thought Shadow and Bone was on the more meh side, I don’t think this installment, aside from the new, amazing characters, provided a uniqueness that will change your perspective on the trilogy. But it’s still worth a try if you’re curious or invested in the story.
Update 7/14/15: *Oh I totally lied, he actually had two. Thanks for pointing that out, Shelumiel!
I really should have made a push to review this much sooner than I did. I finished Ruin and Rising last week so as I was writing the review for Siege and Storm I made a plot summary appropriate for R&R instead. There’s just so much that happens in these books, I knew I was going to get the events mixed up. Sigh, the perils of marathoning books and reviewing them. I probably should go write my review for Ruin and Rising before I totally forget all thoughts on that finale…
Actually it’d probably be smarter to go reply to some comments. Anyway, happy Sunday!