Review: Siege and Storm

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Siege and StormSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on June 4, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-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.

First Sentence: “The boy and girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the True Sea.”

Review:
Shadow and Bone was one of my favorite reads of 2012, which means that I approached Siege and Storm with a combination of trepidation and flailing excitement. With time, I couldn’t remember the specifics of what made Shadow and Bone such a good read for me, read nearly a year ago, during my trip to New York for BEA. Now I remember: Leigh Bardugo’s writing is freaking outstanding in every respect.

Where Shadow and Bone followed much more typical fantasy plot lines, Leigh Bardugo really goes her own way in Siege and Storm. Generally, I have a fair sense for where a series is headed in the end, even if I don’t know precisely the steps along the way. In Siege and Storm, I never knew where the characters would go next or where they would end up in the end, but whenever anything happened, I felt this rightness, and gaped slackjawed at the book, impressed yet again with Bardugo’s ideas.

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone left off, with Mal and Alina on the run, trying to escape Ravka and the reach of the Darkling. To the surprise of no one, they do not get very far away before the Darkling appears, much to the excitement of fangirls everywhere. The Darkling has a plan: to find another amplifier for Alina, since Morozova’s amplifiers can be worn together. Thus, they set off on a ship captained by a dashing privateer (aka a classy pirate) to hunt an ice dragon. I expected this to be a huge portion of the plot, but it ends fairly quickly, which I was sad about for approximately half a page, but then even cooler things happened. But, to find out what, you’re going to have to read the book for yourself.

Now, when I read Shadow and Bone, I proudly proclaimed myself a big fan of the Darkling, never having forgiven Mal for his early behavior and not finding his chemistry with Alina nearly as captivating. Well, I have changed my allegiance. My favorite guy is now Sturmhond. You may be thinking, Bardugo added ANOTHER love interest? So lame and unnecessary! I understand if you are, but stop thinking that right now. Sturmhond, the privateer, is one of my favorite literary characters, and totally knocked the Darkling from my affections in one fell swoop. He has the swagger and humor of Captain Jack Sparrow, combined with a sober, calculating intellect. Every single line of his is perfection, either hilarious, swoon-inducing, or cleverly changing the subject. My love for him knows no bounds.

Alina continues to be an intriguing main character, alternatingly weak and drunk on power. When she doesn’t use her powers, she’s weak, wan and insecure, living in Mal’s shadow. Almost more than fighting the Darkling or political factions, Alina battles herself. The amplifier and the connection to the Darkling have changed her from the girl she used to be, putting her sanity and her relationship with Mal potentially in jeopardy. The more she comes into her power of light, the more the darkness within her stands out in sharp relief. The choices she has to make are tough ones, and she has no ideal options.

Bardugo cements herself as a writing talent in Siege and Storm. Her plotting, writing and characters are all excellent, and the story moves along at a swift pace. Ruin and Rising, which is the perfect title for the third book by the way, is poised to be the strongest, most heartbreaking book in the trilogy, and I need it in my life as soon as possible.

Favorite Quote:

“‘Tell me, priest,’ I ordered, ‘or I’ll cut you open right here, and your followers can try to pray you back together.'”

39 responses to “Review: Siege and Storm”

  1. I no read this series yet πŸ™

    I’ll try it one day, despite the seed you planted in the back of my head yesterday.

    Happy you loved it!

    Bye!

    • Christina says:

      Bahahaha, I’m lowering your expectations, so that you will love it all the more. I’m helping! Fantasy’s not really your thing, but I could see you loving this. I hope you do!!!

  2. Megan K. says:

    YES. YES. YES. CHRISTINA. SO GLAD YOU LOVED THIS. I mean, I did. So much. And yes. Who can’t be impressed by Leigh Bardugo’s imagination? If there are any… *cracks knuckles* Ha, I loved Sturmhond, too! Though not as much as Mal or the Darkling. πŸ˜‰ My heart is still torn between those two. I also didn’t expect the world building to be even more developed, but it was. It was.

    Brilliant review!

    • Christina says:

      I am SO impressed. WHAT? How could you like Mal better? I do not see that at all. And, also, I am now convinced that Mal is not right for her at all. He likes her when she’s weak and just sits around admiring his manliness. Well, you know what, Mal? That Alina is not nearly as interesting!

      Bardugo is the queen of love interests.

  3. First of all:
    I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. I can. not. wait! I want it in my greedy hands πŸ˜€

    On to the review:
    I really like the Darkling, but I still think it’s great to be introduced to another character. Sturmhond sounds awesome. Who doesn’t love a guy with Jack Sparrow’s humor? πŸ˜€

    Mel@thedailyprophecy

  4. Molli Moran says:

    Nice review, Christina! Sturmhond absolutely stole the show, which is good AND bad, because I found myself falling for him and wanting more page time with him than any of the other characters. LOL.

    I’m a Team Mal girl through and through, but Sturmhond kinda rattled me. I never expected to fall for him. I spent large parts of S&S crying for poor Mal, and wanting to slap Alina. Man, girlfriend made some stupid choices for her quest for power. *shakes head* You said it all about her character really.

    The Darkling…IDEK how people want him with Alina. It really just blows my mind that people see him as this romantic interest. I’m really curious to see where everyone’s shipping alliances fall after S&S. πŸ™‚

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    • Christina says:

      Yes, he did. I could read about him forever. If he’s not the winner in the end, then I’m pretty I will be begging for a spin off about him, because he is the greatest.

      What? NO. I super don’t think she and Mal work after this book. I preferred the Darkling after book one, but thought Mal was a better choice for her. Now, I’m pretty sure he’s the worst choice. Ha, except I want to slap Mal, not Alina.

      Eh, the Darkling thing is mostly just because they have insane chemistry. Those makeout scenes were intense!

  5. Ah! Now I want this book even more! Oh Christina, why do this to me when I’d calmed my excitement and now you’ve draggeed it back up to the surface. This sounds even better than the first book and I want it now! How can it be so perfect? Sturmhond sounds hilarious, I cannot wait to meet him.

    This is a great review, I may just keep re-reading it, tormenting myself until I get the book itself! Thanks!

  6. Morgan says:

    OH my god, I want this book even more now!!! If you can type the word ice dragon and then add something even cooler comes after it, then I’m sold. I only read Shadow and Bone for the first time a week ago and absolutely adored it. I’m so glad that you felt Siege and Storm lived up to its predecessor! I keep seeing Sturmhond talked about on twitter I’m sooooo curious to meet him. Seriously love ALL the characters and her writing style. This review made my day πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      For real. A motherflipping Ice Dragon! It’s so awesome. Her writing style is amazing, her characters are fabulous, and the story is oh so dark. She’s basically my favorite ever.

  7. Audra says:

    Love the cover — want to read this series now esp after your enthusiasm!

  8. I love it when an author gains confidence and flies completely free! It makes a world of difference. Not many are brave enough to let go of the rules of the genre and just do their thing. the fact that Bardugo did just that makes me want to read this one even sooner.
    I just recently got the audio and I fully intend to start it as soon as I finish my current audiobook. Fortunately, my drive to work and back is REALLY long.
    Lovely review, Christina!

    • Christina says:

      Obviously, I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on, but I feel like both this one and Dark Triumph were much darker and more unique than the series openers, both very good themselves. Like once they proved marketability, they could really fly free.

      That’s probably the only time anyone’s ever praised their long commute. Haha. I hope the audio version is as good!

  9. KM says:

    Yeah, Sturmhond is pretty awesome. I loved how funny he was. A lot of his lines cracked me up, and I would want to post them as a status update on GR, but I couldn’t because they were spoilery. At first, I was like ‘Why the heck is she adding ANOTHER love interest?!’ But then I was all for it. I think he’s totes the best option for Alina – Mal is boring, and the Darkling is even more evil than he used to be. Team Sturmhond! (Which leaves the Darkling for me. Mwahahahaha!) πŸ˜€

    • Christina says:

      You are welcome to keep the Darkling for yourself. I wouldn’t have thought another love interest was needed, but Bardugo knew better. She can keep turning this into a reverse harem for all I care. Also, he’s def the best option!

  10. mackenzilee says:

    I was lucky enough to get an arc of this and I must say….
    OMG STRUMHOND, RIGHT!?!?!
    It takes a lot for me to get behind witty dialogue, but oh my gosh so funny! I did a lot of laughing out loud on the train. I would agree–I thought it was too much love interest…then I jumped ship and ended upon his team. ALL the love interests!
    But seriously, such a stunning follow up. You summarized everything lovely about ti much better than I ever could!

  11. I shall return to read this review as soon as I finish reading!

  12. Kelly says:

    Where did your last 0.5 star go? Was it because of Mal? Or Alina? Or their relationship?

    Super excited to meet Strumhond! And an ice dragon!?

    • Christina says:

      Just a niggling feeling that I can’t quite commit to calling this book perfection. There were a few slow moments, and I never got quite as absorbed and emotional as I do in five star reads.

    • Kelly says:

      Ah, gotcha. I had that with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Nothing I could put my finger on, but it just didn’t hit me like my other 5 stars did.

  13. Damn girlfriend, you’ve got me hooked. I was ok with not reading this one right away, but now I’m dying to know what happens. Very detailed and nicely reviewed without spoilers. I can’t believe another love interest gets brought into the story! Wow! This sounds AWESOME!

  14. GillyB says:

    Need, need, need, need, NEED THIS BOOK. I need more Mal, more Darkling, and more Sturmhond, and I needs them now, please.

  15. Lynn K. says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Lynn K. says:

    JuneJuneJune! *chants*

    A new guy that overshadows Darkling, ice dragons and this –> “the more she comes into her power of light, the more the darkness within her stands out in sharp relief.” How omnimous! o___o

    I’m so stoked!!

  17. SO excited to read this one! I love Alina as a heroine because she’s not always superwoman, she has her flaws but she works through them. And Mal. I adore him. Sturmhond doesn’t really sound my type, so I don’t think I have to worry about my allegiances changing. That whole paragraph towards the end of your review where you talk about Alina and the darkness/light inside of her has me VERY intrigued about what happens in this book. I am so glad my friend lent me the ARC of this so I don’t have to wait long to read it.

  18. Amy says:

    I haven’t read the first book yet, but I really do want to. I have heard nothing but awesome things about it, and the fact that the second book is awesome too makes me want to get to it soon!!

  19. I’ve got book one at last! So will be catching up to you soon and hopefully joining you in my excitement, Christina! πŸ™‚

  20. Amanda says:

    Posting a review two full months before I can read this book is tortuous for me. Like you, Shadow and Bone was one of my favorite fantasies last year. I was just really captivated by Bardugo’s fantastic plotting, world-building, and characters – glad to know those positive aspects continue in the second installment! I *do* think that a third love interest sounds a bit ridiculous, but I will reserve judgment on that for now. Two months will be a long wait for sure, but at least I can be satisfied knowing my wait will be well-rewarded with another fantastic addition to this trilogy. Wonderful review, Christina!

  21. Grisha is one of those series that I didn’t read last year and now I have two books to read (like Grave Mercy). So many books I want to read so little time. Gah! I keep telling myself that when we go on vacation I will catch up because I will make break from reading review books. I can already see the scene:
    My husband: “Let’s go to the beach.”
    Me (with nose stuck in Kindle): “Meh, I’ll pass.”

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