After sadly being quite (extremely) disappointed by Shadow and Bone, I was surprised to find that Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo completely exceeded all of my expectations. Epic, with awesome new characters, and wicked awesome new developments, I am starting to see why some people can’t get enough of Ravka and the Grisha world.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book and other books in the Grisha Trilogy (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
I must say that I was pretty skeptical going into this book because, while I didn’t hate Shadow and Bone, I wasn’t totally into it like a lot of people are. Upon finishing Siege and Storm I must say I LIKED THIS BOOK SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN THE FIRST ONE!!!!! One thing that I definitely think had an influence on my opinion/experience was listening to the audiobook instead of reading it physically (It made it easier for me to get through). However, even in saying that it was pretty awesome, there were still things about the story that I did and didn’t like.
Moving on from the first book, where I found her a little flat, Alina has some absolutely awesome character developments this time around. Over the course of the book she changes a HUGE amount. With all of her new-found power, Alina starts liking being in charge and throwing her weight around to the point where she kind of starts slipping a little bit into the dark side. Scary as she can be however, she is still super concerned with saving the world and being good, etcetera etcetera.
Another character that we first met in Shadow and Bone was Mal and guess what? I STILL BLOODY HATE HIM!!!! I sooo don’t ship Alina and Mal mainly because I think that Mal is a complete idiot (at least the Darkling kind of shows support of Alina’s decisions even if he plans to use her to take over the world). Usually I end up liking the “main love interest” but Mal is just so self-involved and overly dramatic about everything (Someone needs to knock some sense into that boy). Honestly, he’s worst than Edward Cullen; Something doesn’t go his way and he starts sulking or throws a tantrum. Alina is having a hard time and trying to save everyones asses, not to mention navigating the political nightmare that is the Ravkan court and trying to guess what the Darkling is planning now that he is out being the Darkling as he does, and now she has to watch what she says and does so that she doesn’t hurt Mal’s feelings? He can just go die in a hole!
We get to meet a ton of new characters in this book, all of which are just totally groovy. One of the new characters introduced in this book was Sturmhond, a pirate (he would correct me and say “privateer”) and a definite patriot (He only wants what’s best for Ravka). He is SO AWESOME!! He’s smart and funny and smart and sassy… did I mention that he’s super smart? Like WAYYYY genius child here (He built a flying boat for saints sake).
As always, I love loVE LOVE the Russian influences in this book. not to mention that almost steampunk vibes that are going on. Fantasy land with magical awesomeness + guns and other technological stuff? Don’t mind if I do. However, even with the abundance of awesomeness, I found that there wasn’t as much action in this book as I’d hoped. The beginning was really good, but after that it was a lot of political manoeuvring and inventing of stuff and MAL BEING A MORON before it picked back up for the last few chapters.
Naturally there was a cliffhanger ending which made me scream (I love them but I hate them). Lucky for me I have Ruin and Rising waiting for me in both paperback and audiobook form so I don’t have to wait to know how the series ends. I was super pleased that I liked this book seeing as I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one but I must say that I wasn’t in love with it like I know some people are. Now, before I end, I would just like say that I still absolutely love the Darkling (Even though he’s a psychotic, immoral, megalomaniac who can in no way be redeemed).