Series: The Grisha #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 4th 2013
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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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.
2013 sequels and I are having a bit of a row at the moment… again. Prior to starting Siege and Storm, I picked up not one, not even two, but three sequels before settling in with Siege and Storm. Each and every one of the them presenting me with the same issue: I had no freaking clue what was going on. Oh, I am sure they are great books, but it will be a while till I get to them cause I probably will need to read the first book again. Moving on.
Siege and Storm, by far, is one of the most powerful sequels, correct that, powerful books, I have ever read. Nothing about this read screams sequel. Most of the time, a sequel book is the slump book in a series or the build up book, and while Siege and Storm definitely has some build up, it never takes away from the read.
First and foremost, the Alina from Shadow and Bone is gone. The replacement (aka the new) Alina, of Siege and Storm, is different. Stronger, darker, more focused. And in true Leigh Bardugo fashion, the progression that is taking place within her is not an easy one to watch. Between the amplifiers and external forces, Alina does not have it easy in Siege and Storm. I loved every difficult moment of Alina's transformation.
Mal, the love interest, sidekick, undergoes his own transformations in Siege and Storm as well. But unlike Alina, I really didn't care for the new Mal. He is whiny, needy, and moody beyond description. Now, Alina is not perfect, and some, if not most, of the new Mal is because of her, however; he is a big boy. And he could have put on his big boy pants at anytime. But he doesn't, and I am sad to say I am no longer with Team Mal.
Siege and Storm is a battle read, plain and simple. The line has been drawn in the sand. Alina and the Darkling fighting for what each believes in. And there may only be one winner at the end of the day. Who will it be? I don't know. But I do know that Siege and Storm is one of the best sequels I have ever read. It is dark, crushing, gut renching, and so, so much more. I loved every moment of this read, and hate that I now have to wait so long for the next installment.
I have to first say, it took me a while to read this book. It definitely is a slower read at times than Shadow and Bone was, and for good reason. Alina and Mal are in transformation throughout this book. Alina feels the pull of dark magic, especially as she seeks out even more to defeat the Darkling. We see her turning into a more neutral character, one that could easily be pushed over to the dark side with her new powers and the way she starts to see her similarities to The Darkling. Which mainly is the reason for the rift between Mal and her forming throughout this book.
I did like the introduction of new character, although it suffers from having too many romantic interests fall into place again. Not only is there Mal and we cannot deny the pull of the Darkling, but she now has two princes vying for her attention, one who I like immensely and the other who I hope a very horrible death. There were a lot of every day moments in this book that I felt made it drag on for me. I wasn't as pulled into the story, although I am very curious to see how all of these characters turn out.
What I love about these books is the human nature aspect, the pull towards both good and evil. The choices Alina will continue to have to make could lead to many different paths, some of them good, some bad and maybe some in between. I feel like every character in this book has that good and bad aspect, every one has their flaws and faults. I'll be interested to see what the final book brings.
Slow at times, Siege and Storm felt a little too chunky and weighted down with a lot of down time and lack of action. I put this one down a lot when it got slow, but found myself drawn back into the story and not forgetting any moments even when taking a month to read it on and off. Definitely a series I will finish off.