19 August 2013

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm
Author(s): Leigh Bardugo
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher/Date: Henry Holt & Co. / June 4, 2013
Series: The Grisha (Book #2)

"You wanted to wear the second amplifier. You have it. You want to go to Os Alta? Fine, we'll go. You say you need the firebird. I'll find a way to get it for you. But when all thisis over, Alina, I wonder if you'll still want me.” -Mal
Warning: This review may contain spoilers concerning Shadow and Bone.
Case Study
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. (synopsis from Goodreads)

The Game's Afoot
So, umm, yeah. I recently kirked out over Shadow and Bone and I'm happy to report that Siege and Storm is just as SQUEE-worthy. Seriously, it's really THAT good. No sequel-suck syndrome here! The characters are in a darker place, the action's more intense, the stakes much higher. You guys, I can't even...

The reason I really enjoy this series is because, like in any good fantasy novel, there's that wonderful balance of plot-driven adventure and super engaging people. The main focus is on Alina's journey but then the story's jam packed with a series of epic mini-quests, as well. It's one seriously crazy ride! I'm never quite sure where Bardugo is going to take it and I love the unpredictability of it all. The only slight thing that threw me about Siege and Storm was the pacing. The action stalls towards the middle but Bardugo more than makes up for it with that high impact finale. By the end, Ravka is on the verge of an all-out war and the tone is desolate. We've lost some key characters and the fates of many others are left unknown. Talk about wanting, no, needing to know more!

The other thing I love about this series is that the characters have so much dimension and, well, character! The Darkling is dark as ever, Mal has grown distant and resentful and Alina struggles with her new-found powers. I'm really interested to see how far down the rabbit-hole she goes. I want her to overcome that darkly powerful pull, but at the same time, some sick part of me really enjoys seeing her struggle. She's a bit of a downer in this book but it's understandable given her situation. As the characters progress along their individual journeys, circumstances change as do the relationships between them. I'm not going to lie, it can get really frustrating at times, especially if you're rooting for one coupledom over another. But, then again, I think that says something for the strength of Bardugo's writing --- it makes you feel something. It's that whole love/hate thing we have with really well-written characters. We must accept the change because we're invested in them.

Oh! Oh! And for those of you who are Darkling fans, you're in for a real treat with Siege and Storm because Bardugo one ups herself with the addition of a new fan favourite. Meet Sturmhond. I didn't think it was possible for me to love anyone as much as I loved The Darkling but, yet again, she proved me wrong. Sturmhond is the colourful, charismatic, witty privateer who has quickly become my favourite character in the entire series. To say he's a multifaceted character is an understatement and I'm really excited to see where she goes with his story. Overall, Siege and Storm blew me away and was more than a worthy follow-up to a very strong debut. 

Summary Prognosis
Siege and Storm is one of those rare follow-up books that supersedes even the first. Chalk full of intense action, magical adventures and engaging characters, you'll never want to put it down. This is one of those unpredictable fantasy series that keeps on getting better with time.

Rating: ★★★★½

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website


  1. Anonymous8/19/2013

    "Kirked out"? Are you from the DC area, by chance?

    1. Kirked out --- as in freaked out (in a good way). I'm actually from the Baltimore area, though I do spend some time in DC occasionally.

  2. This book was great. Cannot wait for the next one and the movie that is sure to come which I've said would happen since Shadow and Bone. Watch out Harry Potter!
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