Released: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Source: ARC lent to me by Kelly!
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This book is the second in a trilogy. If you haven’t read Shadow and Bone yet, I would suggest reading that first.
Siege and Storm takes place where the last book left off, with Alina and Mal living in a tiny village trying to keep themselves hidden from the Darkling and his crew. Sadly, this doesn’t last long and Alina and Mal are once again captured by the Darkling. They’re taken hostage aboard a ship and taken on a search for a second amplifier. The ship belongs to Sturmhond, a privateer who has a great sense of humor, and, as we later find out, not on the Darkling’s side. The whole search for the amplifier goes rather quickly and suddenly Sturmhond and his men launch an attack against the Darkling. They sail away with Alina and Mal back to Ravka, the place they were trying to escape. Sturmhond knows of Alina’s power and wants her to use it to lead an army to fight against the Darkling and save Ravka. At first, Alina is really hesitant, especially because Mal is not a fan of the idea, but as time goes on, the idea starts to grow on her.
Though I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger, it is not something I generally read these days. The only reason I started this series was because I was urged to by some friends and ended up loving the first book. Siege and Storm is no exception. Bardugo writes fantasy in a way that’s different from most. A lot of times I find fantasy stories to be predictable, but that was not the case with this story. Not once did I know what was going to happen next, and it was because of this that I read almost the entire book in one day. Siege and Storm is a heart pounding adventure that will leave you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I was swept away into the world of the Grisha, totally immersed in the fight for power between the Darkling and his enemies.
Many of the characters in this book are the same, but we are also introduced to some new ones. Sturmhond is probably the most prominent character. He’s funny, a little bit lost, and a great asset to Alina. Though it’s difficult to tell his loyalties from time to time, he always pulls through in the end. Throughout much of the story he’s afraid to show his true self, but underneath his joking exterior is a deeply caring man. We are also introduced to Tolya and Tamar, Grisha that work for Sturmhond. They’re part of Alina’s guard and are incredibly talented for Grisha that haven’t received traditional training at the Little Palace. They’re probably two of my favorite secondary characters in any book.
Alina continues to grow in her power, especially now that she’s in possession of two amplifiers. She alternates between wanting a normal life with Mal and being drunk on power. The more she summons the light, the more power-hungry she becomes, and it becomes increasingly difficult for her to discern between her heart and her power. She struggles throughout the story to figure out what she truly wants for herself, whether she wants to be a saint to Ravka as the Sun Summoner or just be Alina. This power struggle takes a huge toll on her relationship with Mal. If you’re looking for the swoons in this story, they’re few and far between. Mal just wants to be able to be with Alina, yet Alina is caught up in her “duty” to save Ravka and it’s kind of one big mess. I was pretty sad about their relationship throughout the story, but there’s definitely still hope for the two of them.
Though I felt like the story dragged from time to time, the last third of the book makes up for everything. I can’t say anything, but there were MANY times that I was literally yelling because I couldn’t believe what was happening. I even teared up a few times. Bardugo makes some really tough decisions with her characters and story, and I think it was the best thing she could have done. She doesn’t shy away from the difficult and because of this wrote a story that completely blew me away.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars