Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt and Company
Publication date: June 4th 2013
Pages: 435
Genres:  Young Adult, High Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

“Darkness never dies.”

After Alina and Mal escape the Fold, they’re almost immediately swept back up into the world they knew they could never leave behind. Bit by bit, things start to unfold and new alliances are made. Plans are formed, feelings are hurt, and it’s all one big rush of events and emotions, the true Bardugo way.

The thrilling second book of the Grisha trilogy had me staying up into the early hours of the morning, needing more Nikolai appearances and more information on what was happening in Ravka. I admit, it has been almost a year since I read Shadow and Bone and I found myself trying to differentiate between it and The Young Elites by Marie Lu on a few occasions. There are similarities between the two books, but I also think this was partly due to the fact that Shadow and Bone ended almost like a standalone book would and so I’d tossed a lot of my memory of the book away. When I read the interview with Bardugo at the end, I found out that she wrote it purposely like that as it was her first book and she wanted to feel that the story had been told, even if it ended up not getting to be a trilogy. I felt much better after this explanation because I really couldn’t see anything happening after Shadow and Bone was over.

It’s difficult to explain how I feel about this book. On one hand, I love Bardugo’s writing and Siege and Storm was no exception. On the other hand, Mal got way too much book time. He’s a flat character and Alina’s allegiance to him is frustrating. I understand where she’s coming from due to their childhood background, but I just wish she would fall in love with Nikolai already. Which brings me to my next point: Nikolai, the real Saint of this book.

With the introduction of Nikolai, the story developed and started down a good path for me. He’s the sarcastic character the Grisha series was needing to balance out Mal’s boring personality and Alina’s, which gets darker by the paragraph.

“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.” Nikolai embodies my favorite kind of character-one who is confident in his ideas and understands how the world works and how to move through it. I can’t wait to read Ruin and Rising for more of him. Having now finished Siege and Storm, I realize that the only parts of this book that I really enjoyed had Nikolai in them. He’s the saving grace. Him and Tamar, probably. I’d like to see more of Tamar. She’s a strong female character that really deserves more page time.

One of the best things about Siege and Storm was that we were reintroduced to characters like Zoya and David from Shadow and Bone. Bardugo did a great job of adding more layers to every character, even the less vibrant ones. Her writing definitely improved with this sequel.

All in all, it’s a good book. Like I said, I’m a huge fan of Bardugo and the Grisha world, but I think she could have crafted Siege and Storm a little bit better. It’s a great sequel to Shadow and Bone and I’m ready to find out what happens next, but it would have been ten times better if Mal could just develop more as a character. A+ for the Darkling, though. He’s still really terrifying.

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