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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: June 4, 2013
Pages: 435
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4.5 Stars

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.

In short: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is a game-changing sequel that has everything we loved about Shadow and Bone and MORE.
Shadow and Bone seemed to have all you could want in a novel: a wonderfully developed and beautifully picturesque world, a creative and fascinating magic system, a sort of boarding school setting, an awesomely relatable and fierce heroine, a slow building and fantastically swoony romance, and an enigmatic and complex villain. Siege and Storm somehow has all this and MORE. Creepy shadow monsters, ship voyages with pirates, a mythical sea beast, a fantastical flying ship, and one very calculating and smarmy prince. Yes, it really is ALL THAT.

The Darkling was one of my favourite things from Shadow and Bone, but much to my dismay, the Darkling's presence was noticeably less in Siege and Storm. But, as if Leigh Bardugo knew that her readers would feel the hurt from less Darkling, a new equally as intriguing character is introduced in the form of one very cunning privateer. How does Leigh Bardugo do it, constantly come up with swoony new characters for us to obsess over? She seems to have a never-ending capacity of new secondary characters that interest us just as much as the main players.

Alina and Mal are as incredible as ever, both alone and together. I love their banter. We get to see them grow and endure and bear new roles that test them and their love. And they make it through remarkably well. But I did get a little frustrated at the cliched romantic feud designed to add drama to their relationship. Basically, one party deserts the other right when they're at their most desperate and in need of support. And that is not any kind of love that I know of or understand. Adding complexity to relationships is fine - even welcomed - but introducing drama for petty reasons that involves abandoning your loved one when they need you... not a fan. Still, this was a relatively minor quibble.

Siege and Storm was truly a fantastic sequel, rife with action and hooks and intrigue that held me ensnared from the very opening scene to the game-changer ending. I cannot possibly express my excitement for Ruin and Rising adequately enough!

Previously, my review of Shadow and Bone.

Other Reviews:
Ink Skies
Just Another Story
YA Book Queen

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  1. Great review, loved this book too! I agree that Stormhund was the best new character, he lightened the mood in the book.

  2. I really loved this one, too, Aylee! Not every book actually manages to live up in terms of sequels, but Siege & Storm really did. I wanted more of the Darkling, just like everybody else, but she managed to make it WORK! Fantastic review, lady :)

  3. The slow building and hot romance sounds great, I need to start these soon.

  4. I agree with you on your romantic quibble, I couldn't quite understand why Mal did what he did even if he was struggling. I think it was equally clear Alina was struggling as well, but she didn't do what he does. And yes, I was bummed at the lack of Darkling, but the privateer totally made up for it! Such an outstanding sequel, fabulous review Aylee:)

  5. Oh I was a little frustrated with the unnecessary romantic drama too. I actually initially rated this 4.5 stars because of it, but then took it up to 5 once I had a couple of days to get over it. ;) Other than that, I LOVED this book, and I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it too. Wasn't Sturmhond just wonderful? I really loved his character throughout all of this. Amazing review, Aylee! :)

  6. I agree, I was a bit frustrated with the drama, and the lack of the Darkling, but the addition of Sturmhound more than made up for it! I really enjoyed the sequel, though I still think book one has a slight edge over it. (I still heart the Darkling, I know it's sick). Awesome review! :-)

  7. WHY HAVEN'T I READ THIS YET GOSH DARN IT. I loved Shadow and Bone and while I am sad that the Darkling isn't in the story as much, I'm so stoked to find out who this new swoony character (that I'll probably fall for) is! Yaaay, Alina and Mal! I'm excited to get back in their relationship, and hopefully the unnecessary petty drama doesn't bother me too much. FLYING SHIPS AHH I NEED THIS. Thanks for the fantastic review as always, Aylee! <3

  8. I missed the Darkling a lot in this one as well and for me the new prince didn't do much. He was a good character as far as development etc but I just wasn't swooning on him. I wasn't romantically swooning on the Darkling either but the mysterious and alluring atmosphere he gave off was my favorite part of shadow and Bone.

    I'm still excited for book 3 I think he will be back! ;)

  9. I still need to read Shadow and Bone, but it's on my must-read list as I've heard lots of wonderful things. That's awesome you highly enjoyed this on as well...it doesn't always happen with the second book in a series. I'm so curious about this Darkling!


  10. Like you, I enjoyed SHADOW AND BONE a little bit more than SIEGE AND STORM, but still loved the characterization, the world building (GOSH, the world building *O*), and the character interactions. But yes! Where was the Darkling?! D: Still, he had some pretty kickass new powers, so that KINDA made up for his disappearance. And that ending. Killed me. Leigh better cook up something awesome in RUIN AND RISING! Loved this review, Aylee!

  11. Oh, I remember how much you loved Shadow & Bone and it's so lovely to see you loved Siege & Storm as well. I'm so dying to read a great fantasy novel and these have been on my TBR since they came out. I should be able to read them soon hopefully. Nice review, Aylee!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  12. Argh, I still need to read this one; can't believe you beat me to it :P I loved the Darkling so I know I'm going to bummed that he's not there as much but this new character seems to have a lot of fans so I'm looking forward to meeting him. I'm so glad the sequel lived up to your expectations, Aylee.

  13. Hmm, I have to read Shadow and Bone to see this Darkling everyone is so excited about. Glad you liked it, and I like the sound of the secondary characters. Good that it lived up to your raving about Shadow and Bone ;)

  14. Glad to hear the second book was good. I still haven't started the series yet but I know people absolutely adore it.

    I'm with you on bringing up drama just for the sake of throwing an obstacle in the way. At least it was minor.

  15. I still NEED to get my hands on (& read) Shadow and Bone so I only skimmed your review to avoid any details - it's my #1 wishlist series so I'm hoping SOON and then I'll come back to compare notes haha! Anyways I remember your excitement for that one so I am beyond pumped that you LOVED the sequel so much too :D I'm now unbearably excited to get a move on and get into this series already :D FABULOUS review Aylee!!

  16. It sounds so good! and I love the covers of this series. :)
    I'm glad the book stayed pretty good :D

  17. I had a feeling, based on the few reviews I've read, that there was some unnecessary drama between Alina and Mal in this one, and now you've confirmed it. I enjoyed the first book A LOT and I want to read the second one, but not before they're all out. I just don't have it in me to wait another year.

  18. STURMHOND FOREVER!!! Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I thought that S&S was even better than book one, and I LOVED book one!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  19. Despite the Darkling's absence (let's hope he's in the next novel more, or else I think we all might start freaking out), Sturmhond made up for it. Mostly. I quite adore him! :)

    Agreed regarding the drama with Alina and Mal's relationship - I wanted to see them as a stronger couple, so that was disappointing.

    But still, I'm excited for RUIN AND RISING! So happy you enjoyed S&S! Fabulous review :)

  20. It's true that Leigh does have a knack for swoony boys ;) I adore Aline + Mal too. I had the same issue with the rift in their relationship - it just seems immature when they can't tell the truth. I can't wait to see what happens to them and where the plot goes in the third book either.

  21. I knew there was a reason I didn't miss the Darkling more than I thought I would in this novel. Sturmhond did make up for it. I am glad you liked this one Aylee. I too am very excited to see how things are going to play out in Ruin and Rising.

    Great review!