Review of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Book 2 in the Shadow and Bone trilogy was just as immersive, imaginative and enticing as Book 1.

Enter the Grishaverse with Book Two of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner—hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long. 

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice—and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Available on Amazon.

I’ll admit, the pacing of this one is a bit slower, especially compared to Shadow and Bone and there is that repeated element of focusing on the amplifiers. However, I enjoyed how this book gave us more of the story of Ravka, its people, its legends and its royal family.

Speaking of the royal family, the winner of this story is clearly Nikolai. Not that there’s a competition or anything but he’s just, well, awesome. Handsome, brave, cunning, funny, loyal, patriotic and sarcastic too. What’s not to love? Well, maybe he lands more on the arrogant side of assertive and maybe his interest in Alina has more to do with what she can do for him and Ravka rather than who she is… but he’s still the freshest breath of air to flow through this book. I found myself smiling and even chuckling a few times during his dialogues with Alina or Mal or his brother, Vasily.

The chapters spent on Sturmhond’s ship are also some of the more exciting ones in this second instalment. Sturmhond’s excitement over the Hummingbird is entirely consuming, as are the descriptions of how the ship transforms. The crew are entertaining and we are also introduced to the sibling duo of Tolya and Tamar who represent the gifted Grisha, who do not enter the Little Palace for training and live a less restricted lifestyle.

Alina and Mal are a bit of a storm cloud this go around. Mal can’t seem to accept the realities of Alina’s powers. He doesn’t want to understand that things can never go back to what they once were and that Alina does in fact now carry the fate of her country. Alina also struggles with her desire to be more powerful versus her desire to be with Mal. She’s terrified by how well she understands the Darkling and believes that the only way to combat that is to access more power. Her inner conflict is compounded by her own insecurities and low self-esteem. It is interesting to see her character develop in this second book as she tries to become the leader of a depleted army.

While there is a bit of a lull in this book, it closes with a massive bang that kept my fingers itching to turn the page even as I tried to absorb every detail of the action playing out. I’m really looking forward to reading the final part of the trilogy, Ruin and Rising, and want to savour the experience. I’ll be getting to it next month, I believe. Can’t wait to see how the relationships between Alina, Genya, Zoya and Nikolai unfold.

Overall, I really enjoyed Siege and Storm and give it 4.5/5 intense espresso shots.

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