Siege and Storm was a fantastic sequel that I definitely enjoyed more than the first book. All of our original characters go through a lot of character development, and the addition of one infamous privateer to the crew considerably upped the sass levels.
Title & Author: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publication: June 2014 by Square Fish
First Impressions: Shadow and Bone was an enjoyable 4-star read. I want to really love this one.
Alina Starkov barely escaped the Shadow Fold with her life. Alina dreams of a peaceful life with Mal at her side, but her abilities as the Sun Summoner grow harder and harder to hide, while rumors that the Darkling still lives circulate throughout the kingdom. With no other options, Alina recruits an untrustworthy privateer to her cause and sets out to lead the remnants of the Second Army. But as she experiments with the limits of her abilities, she soon finds herself grappling between love, power, and her country.
“I have loved you all my life, Mal,” I whispered through my tears. “There is no end to our story.”
Abby the Bookworm
Siege and Storm was everything a sequel needs to be. Full and saturated with politics, fraught romance, sassy royals, shadow monsters, and incredible world-building, there was not a single boring moment in this book. All of the characters and relationships went through some significant changes, and I was living for the character development.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than Shadow and Bone, and I think that’s because of my newfound admiration of Alina. In Shadow and Bone, she came off as a naïve and slightly shallow heroine. In this book, her descent into, denial of, and eventual acceptance of the darkness that ties her and the Darkling was done so convincingly, and her inner conflict between duty and her heart gave her so much depth.
Mal… I love Mal, and I’m not afraid to say it. I took one quick trip through the Internet and it was enough to conclude he gets way more hate than he deserves. He is sweet, and precious, and flawed. He wasn’t being as supportive of Alina in this book as he could have been, but his frustration and anger were, in my opinion, completely understandable. He’s a teenager who doesn’t know where he belongs, and for him, Alina is the only constant. He just wants to love the girl he fell for in peace. I felt for him, and I will forever ship Malina no matter what the haters say.
Nikolai was a wonderful addition to our cast of main characters. His sass was out of this world. The masks he wears and discards, his kind heart, and his insecurity all made for a beautifully deep character. I can understand the source of his gigantic Internet fan base. I think I’m falling in love with him myself. He better become the king after all this is over. Although I could see the suggestions of a Nikolai ♥️ Alina ship, I don’t think they’ll end up together. At least, I hope not. MALINA FOREVER.
It’s not even a spoiler at this point to say that the Darkling is alive. The dark magic he wields after his near-death experience in the Shadow Fold and the cruelty he is capable of is thoroughly disturbing. We get a few scenes with the Darkling and Alina, and the tension and potential is palpable. Although I am most definitely not a Darkling and Alina shipper, I can see why people might become one.
[I mean, this quote]
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” I whispered one night as he hovered behind me while I tried to work at my desk.
Long minutes passed. I didn’t think he would answer. I even had time to hope he might have gone, until I felt his hand on my shoulder.
“Then I’d be alone, too,” he said, and he stayed the whole night through, till the lamps burned down to nothing.
And the final battle scene was epic. It elicited my gasps and tears. David better do a good job of comforting poor, poor Genya, because she does not deserve what has been done to her.
I am definitely looking forward to reading Ruin and Rising. From what I’ve seen on the Internet (SPOILERS ARE EVERYWHERE, I SWEAR), it’s going to make for an emotional, resounding finale.
Abby the Christian Bookworm: PATIENCE
I think we can all learn a lesson from Vasily Lantsov, Crown Prince of Ravka. Shortcuts are, more often than not, counterproductive, and it can lead to some disastrous consequences.
How about you? Did you enjoy Siege and Storm? Who do you ship Alina with?