Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA, romance, magic
Publisher: Henry Holt
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.
*This review contains spoilers*
Seige and Storm pick off a few months after book 1, with Alina and Mal still on the run. We were thrown into the actions almost immediately, and I definitely appreciated how Bardugo did not hold back to get us back onto the game. Although the ultimate goal should be destroying the shadow void, it's this book that started to make me realize that the amplifiers are going to play a much bigger role than I originally anticipated. The growth Alina is starting to show is profound, and I am proud of how much she is adapting to her surroundings. Alina is still Alina, just the more updated version. Through her narratives, we see mental notes she give herself to act a certain way in order to manipulate or prevent being manipulated. She's still very obviously an amateur, but she's learning. Because I'm pretty well-spoiled with the series, I was quite aware of Nikolai's introduction (and how he's not going to end up with Alina). It's also because I posses such knowledge in my mind that made it so much obvious for me to see how organized Bardugo was in organizing her series' story-line. The way she portrayed Nikolai and the Darkling made it obvious from the very beginning that as much as we may ship them, they will never work. None of it was improved, they were all planned. At this point, it's very obvious that the Darkling is not redeemable. I know when they are because the authors would've made specific scenes to prove to us that they are redeemable, and able to become a couple with the protagonist. I am very sad to say that looking at the story's progression, it is obvious that Bardugo purposely made us have feelings for him, but fundamentally never intended to make him anything other than a villain. We are in love with the idea of the Darkling, not him for who he is. Becuase there really is no other way to defend him: he is evil. But it all comes down to how the story is progressing, and how this book carries along with the plot. I'm surprised to say that this was actually executed very, very well. It's always hard to execute the ability to transfer one story-line from one setting to another. It's like having to transfer one very easily disturbed object from one person to another on a very shaky train. It's eminently very difficult to make sure the story progresses steadily and at the same not different, but still not feeling out of place with the series. This trilogy also joins the club of books that proves how books do not need cliffhangers; if your books are good, the readers would be bound without a choice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the Six of Crows Duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Aug 2017) and The Language of Thorns (Sept 2017). She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. She would be delighted if you followed her on Twitter, elated if you visited her web site, and fairly giddy if you liked her selfies on Instagram.