Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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

Goodreads rating: 4.35
ARC, 435 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
Series: The Grisha #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: For review from the publisher

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.

Spoilers from book 1.

I don't what it is about these books, but I find myself getting bored in the middle. I'm not much for sitting around and listening to court politics. But Bardugo is brilliant! I more than appreciate the world-building because that's what I'm doing with my book and I know how much work it takes. But court politics bore me; I need action! Not that this book didn't have action. We begin with Alina and Mal trying to start a new life while hiding out from the Darkling. But they knew that couldn't really last for long. Eventually, the Darkling finds them and takes her and Mal hostage on a ship to find a mythical dragon, whose scales are are like the antlers from the stag. But the Darkling was changed by the Fold. He now has the ability to project shadow soldiers out from himself, making him nearly indestructible now. Though it's obvious that Alina can still sort of affect him. Not only does she have to deal with the Darkling (who is able to visit her somehow even when they're away from each other for most of the book), but she has to deal with controlling her growing power, Mal's drama, and the politics of her country. Needless to say, Alina is a bit more stressed in this book and truly thinks she's going crazy at times, which I think Bardugo does brilliantly. She also encapsulates the unsureness or being a teenager, which we see a lot when it comes to Alina and Mal.

I want to start off this section by saying that I have not once felt any attraction for the Darkling. I love that authors now are blurring the lines with their villains and making it so they're not completely evil, but I still don't find him attractive. He's made the decision to do the terrible things he's done. I really, honestly, don't understand the attraction. It's not like in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi where, not only did we get to see a glimpse or Warner's inner workings in a novella (which I refuse to read for now) and then see a really soft side of him. We get to see none of that supposed soft side of the Darkling, and I honestly don't think he has one. He's a tortured soul because he never stops being violent. Sorry, that got a little ranty. Also, Mal was being terrible in this one too! He was a total asshat, and totally broke Alina's heart along with mine at times. I don't think Mal really gets the pressure and the burden of being the Sun Summoner. Not only that, but, each time she uses her power, she grows more beautiful, and I think that's scaring Mal because he doesn't understand how she could still want to be with him when she has all that. But he's everything to her and he just needs to get his head out of whatever hole he's stuck it in, and support Alina.

I LOVE STURMHOND!!! I'm not Team Darkling or even Team Mal anymore. I am Team Sturmhond. This character made the book for me. I went to a signing f Leigh's, and she said that this was her favorite character to write, and you'll see why once you start reading this one. As soon as the Darkling finds Alina and Mal, he obviously captures them and they go on a boat ride to find another one of the things like the antler in the first one (I totally forget the name of what they're called :P) so that Alina can have more power. Sturmhond is the privateer that runs the ship, and it turns out that, not only is he on Alina's side and proves it, but he's also not really who he says he is. In fact, he plays a very important role not only this world, but in the story arc for the rest of the novel. Sturmhond was key, but he was also witty and hilarious and pompous and just really fun to read. He had a dynamic with Alina that was interesting, mostly because the Darkling is hunting her down and Mal is being a total asshat. So she has to hang out with someone. And I'm glad it was Sturmhond. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found myself putting it down around the middle because there was no action. It was a lot about politics, drama with Mal, and Alina feeling like she's going insane from seeing the Darkling everywhere. But the parts where it picks up are so good, the world-building so phenomenal, and the characters so real, I couldn't help but love this book!

Lovers of high fantasy, and obviously anyone that enjoyed the first book!



  1. I loved this beautiful sequel! I admit that it didn't blow me away quite as much as the first one did, but I also loved the addition of Sturmhond. I think people's attraction to the Darkling is based off of who he seemed to be in the first half of Shadow and Bone, and kind of wishing that's who he really was. There are also little moments when Alina thinks she sees sadness or real emotion in him. Personally, I mostly agree with your stance on his character, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want redemption for him (though it's unlikely at this point). I completely agree about Mal! I almost couldn't stand him in this novel. He lacked understanding wasn't supportive at all. Awesome review!

  2. I didn't like this sequel as much as the first book but I absolutely agree with you about Sturmhond. I love the world building in these books as well, but like you, I get bored with some aspects. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

  3. LOVED this book! Hated the cliffhanger, but loved it either way. Totally agree that Mal was a total asshat to Alina! Ruin and Rising can't come soon enough!


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