Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone))

Leigh Bardugo
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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-05-07
Alina and Mal have escaped from the Darkling across the True Sea to Cofton. Alina is trying to hide her identity as the Sun Summoner but it is not long until someone will recognize her. The Darkling is after her once again but with the help of a privateer, Alina may stand a chance. As she heads back to Os Alta to gather an army and make a plan against the Darkling, Alina learns about her power and how it is growing but is she also slipping back into the Darkling’s magic? She must save her country and as much as she wants to make that her first priority, she also would just love to run away. I’m not sure what I think of this book. I thought it was better than Shadow and Bone, but not by much. The first 25% was great! There was lots of action and we got introduced to a new character that I LOVE but then the book goes way downhill and I was bored again until the last 40 pages. And don’t get me started on Mal. I.Can’t.Stand.Him! He is so annoying!!! Mal is the most jealous and insecure guy that I have ever read about. No guy is even allowed to look at Alina without him throwing a tantrum. I’m glad that Alina has her childhood friend there for her but why couldn’t they just remain friends? Ever since they started having a romantic relationship, Mal’s character didn’t develop at all through the story. In fact his character development is non-existent and it is so frustrating. I guess that’s why I really didn’t enjoy the middle bulk of the story because it was lot of drama between Mal and Alina. Most of the time, I enjoy some drama in a fantasy because it gives us a little break from the fighting that usually occurs in fantasy stories. But in Siege and Storm we have more drama than fighting and it just didn’t work for me. There is one character that I absolutely adored and that was Nikolai. He brought so much humor to the story and I was glad we finally got some of that because the first book was missing that. Pretty much every time I read about him, I was laughing. Alina is definitely growing as a character but I’m not sure if it is for the better. She definitely is a morally grey characteristics about her. Even though this series is just mediocre to me, I am curious to see how it ends. I am crossing my fingers that the final book lives up and finally delivers the proper ending.
Reviewed: 2018-01-25
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.

Shadow and Bone, though spectacular, had not completely enthralled me, but Siege and Storm blew me away. Now I know what everyone has been going on about! The world of Grisha was terrific, yes, but this book is more about the characters, specifically Alina - who is now a hunter Saint, a powerful Grisha and a simple girl with too big a burden. The story also seemed to pace better than the earlier book (which was too fast) and we get a story that moves wildly from her and Mal's escape, them being returned to Ravka, she assuming her true power and hungering for more. Yes, Alina is rendered in complex colors as a Grisha, a Sun Summoner, and the Darkling's protege. On one hand, she needs the power to defeat him, but she also wants that power for herself. Mal, though still by her side, doesn't understand this new girl and her loneliness, which leads to some tense and dramatic moments - his insecurity warring with their relationship.

The great addition to this series is undoubtedly the very entertaining Nikolai - the second too-clever-fox prince. His personality is all witty humor - but he is a brilliant strategist and a pragmatic individual. He and Alina have nice banter going on, but I don't really expect much on that front. The Darkling is terrifying this time around, by which I mean - yay, great villain. All his vulnerability has been stripped from him, but his hunger for power also shows a deep seated vindication for Grisha, who have long been used as servants. Though he is definitely evil, I can't help but agree that some of his arguments do make sense. In any case, the bond between him and Alina is something that is hinted at but not much explored. As for the world, I loved how we get more insight into the workings of Grisha and the magic or science of their world. Overall, a brilliant book!
Reviewed: 2017-12-07
|| Versions Owned: ARC, Paperback, Hardcover ||

5 amazingly huge stars

Initial Impressions 4/30/13: Oh my sweet word. How ever will I review this book. I am absolutely, positively floored. I'm sure this review will contain entirely too much fangirling, some gobbledygook, and a few too many "OMG"s.

Review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide 5/13/13: OMG, YOU GUYS. Siege & Storm. SIEGE AND STORM!! It was amazing. And now I need to write a review for it… Where do I even start?

So right off the bat, I was in love with SIEGE & STORM. This book hits the ground running with lots of exciting action, reuniting readers immediately with Alina & Mal, and introducing one of my favorite new characters, Sturmhond. I have to say that the action throughout the book was incredible. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book — there are periods of time where the story slows down and we get more of a slow build to the overall plot, but even that was exciting! I honestly took a step back from the book and sat there in awe as I was reading because I had to wonder how Leigh Bardugo not only came up with this story and its details, but observed how well it was written. Leigh Bardugo’s writing is eloquent, exciting, funny, thoughtful… The book honestly amazed me from start to finish.

You may notice from the reading progress picture above that I actually started SIEGE & STORM on April 8th and didn’t finish until April 30th. Usually that’s an extremely long time for me to read a book. Yes, I did put it down so I could read for a couple other obligations, but honestly? This was a book I wanted to savor. I really took my time reading it, made sure I was in the right frame of mind, and really did not want to rush through it at all. I really took it all in and to be honest, I kind of didn’t want it to end!

The characters that Leigh Bardugo has developed all feel so REAL. We definitely see a new Alina in the end of SHADOW & BONE and we continue to see how she’s changing even more by coming into her power in SIEGE & STORM. I felt like Mal was much more present in this book than he was in S&B, at least for me personally. I didn’t really get into the romance until the end of Shadow & Bone and although I felt like it was still a little slow to develop in SIEGE & STORM as well, it was still SO good and I think I much prefer it that way than introducing it too soon. The romance didn’t take over the story because really, the primary focus is Alina’s powers and her role as possible savior of Ravka. The romance surely does help mold and shape this major plot line and it was wonderful to read, but I was just glad I felt like the powers and the magical elements were still the main focus of this book.

You may be happy (or unhappy) to know that The Darkling is still a major part of this book! I admit, I was a little concerned because for some reason I felt like he was going to fall into the background in book two, but nope. He is back with a vengeance and it’s delightfully wicked. Book two is (no pun intended) much darker than book one and readers really get to see more into the history of things as well, both from Alina’s side and The Darkling’s side. I loved all of the history/mythology/legends that we get as a background in SIEGE & STORM. Sometimes it’s not easy to picture a fabricated history as real, but I found myself gobbling it up and just wanting more and more clues, more and more details.

My final opinion of the book is that if you liked SHADOW & BONE, you’ll love SIEGE & STORM. I guess if you LOVED the first book, you’ll love this one even more (I hope)! I feel even more amazed than I was with book one. The plot and the characters are just SO well done and I felt like everything was just an expansion of what went on in SHADOW & BONE instead of introducing too many new things. This was truly a continuation of a series and it didn’t feel disjointed as so many second in a series do to me. I was overjoyed with how much I loved this book and I cannot WAIT for everyone to read it and love it as much as I did!!!

Re-Read finished 6/15/14: Wow, what a hell of an ending! You know, it's always amazing with re-reads how much I forgot from my initial read, especially from over a full year ago! So glad I decided to read this one again. The ending was fantastic! I forgot so much about it. It was actually kind of hard for me to re-read on audio just because my commute changed and I had so much less time to listen so it was kind of choppy. That aside, obviously still an amazing story and follow-up to book one. So amped for Ruin and Rising now!! And one minor complaint that the narrator didn't read Sturmhond as I did when I first read him so BOOOOO because it took away his swooniness but no worries. I still love him.

Re-Read review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide 7/12/14: SIEGE AND STORM was an interesting re-read but ultimately not as exciting as the first time around – don’t get me wrong, it was still amazing, but I was in total awe when I first read this book over a year ago. (WOW, over a year!?) It was really fun being able to discover everything all over again. Some things had lost their surprise, of course, since I already knew the big twists but the best thing about re-reading – like with my re-read of SHADOW AND BONE – was that I had forgotten so many of the little details. Hell, in SIEGE AND STORM, I had even forgotten some of the BIG details and big reveals. It had been so long since I had spent some time in the Grishaverse that I had forgotten a lot of the backstories, things like the tales in the book of Saints, and how specific events actually transpired. Especially re-reading, it’s even more apparent how much SIEGE AND STORM shows off Leigh Bardugo’s writing talent. SHADOW AND BONE was so enjoyable (both times) but SIEGE AND STORM really starts to take the plot to new places, open new doors, and put the characters in even more peril until they learn how to fight their way out of the situation. We learn that not all characters are forever safe. We learn that everyone will be put under much more pressure. I felt like there were so many twists and turns and secrets to discover in this book that even after knowing how it ends, I had forgotten how we even got there. The action was stupendous as well. SHADOW AND BONE had its action sequences, but SIEGE AND STORM really took it up a notch, allowing the characters to roam much more and really develop their strengths, giving them the freedom to find more trouble and conquer it that much better. I really appreciated the intricacy of each situation that much more. This book also offered a lot more in character development. I never felt like I was missing any in SHADOW AND BONE, but this was a natural layering of characters as the series progresses. I kind of felt like Alina was a bit of a brat in SHADOW AND BONE but she really does start to mature in this book. That doesn’t mean that she leaves her cheeky attitude or sarcasm behind, which I’m thankful for because I just love the banter that occurs between her and Mal and of course, her and Sturmhond. She just really comes into her own as a leader, as a Grisha, and even just as a young adult. Leigh Bardugo really stretches her repertoire of characters as well. We all know how much I love Sturmhond and his character addition makes me wonder how the series didn’t have him from the beginning. He’s such a fan-favorite and he really adds a wonderful presence to the story. I just love how he affects the series both in plot and his own effect on other characters.

My only issue with the re-read was a personal one and that was that I was reading as an audiobook. Since my audiobook time is literally ten minutes at a time to and from work now, it was a hard book to even re-read much less read in short pieces like that. I’m so glad that I really savored it the first time around so even though my re-read was patchy, I still knew how amazing it was and the re-read turned out to be much more of a refresher than a time to sit down and savor. If you need to read or even re-read SIEGE AND STORM, I highly recommend making sure you allot enough time to really enjoy it and soak it all in!

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