Book: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Standing: Book 2
POV: 1st person by Alina, past tense
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Physical Copy
Release: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Favourite Line: "Of course I'm jealous. I thought I was going to get to punch him."
Rating: 4 Stars
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.
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Alina is on the run from the Darkling. It should be no surprise that he's back, and this time, he has a terrifying new power: he can create the very feared creatures that lurk in the Shadow Fold, and those that he creates do his bidding...
I absolutely loved the internal struggle Alina had with power. We get to see similarities and the differences between how she wields power in comparison to how the Darkling does. The question that continues to occupy her mind: is she turning into the same as the Darkling? And does she want to? The boundaries between right and wrong with power are blurred, as are the boundaries between merely using power correctly and downright abusing it.
We're introduced to new characters and more Ravka lore in this book. We have Tamar and Tolya, twins, who are half Shu. We have legends of not just a stag, but of an ice dragon and a firebird. The world is a lot bigger in this book, from characters from different regions, and new places to explore and run from. It's a vast place, one I really loved exploring and getting to know more of.
My favourite character in this book would have to be the privateer Strurmhond. I loved everything about him, love his easygoing nature, and the humour he brings. Sturmhond provided much needed comic relief, especially since Alina's thoughts have taken a desperate and uncertain turn. However, Sturmhond wasn't without his own troubles and secrets, but unlike everyone else, he knew with absolute certainty what he needed to do, however hard the journey would be. His ability to play different parts and people and baffle Alina with his stunts made him a truly likeable character!
The Darkling. Oh, my heart. In my honest opinion, I was a little disappointed with his appearances in this book. Or lack of appearances. I would have liked to see more of him. I wanted to understand what he was going through, hear out his explanations, see his character grow. Though I was absolutely giddy when he did make his few appearances throughout the book... This has nothing to do with the fact that I love him. I swear. Cough.
I also really enjoy the fact we had a lot of chances to compare characters. Alina in comparison to the Darkling in the wielding and desire of power. Strumhond and the Darkling and their desire for the throne. Mal and the Darkling, and who completes Alina better, who brings the most confusion to her (though for different reasons). We got to see how had certain people gone down different paths, they would become the very people they fear now.
There was a lot of character growth for both Alina and Mal. Alina, struggling to find a way to keep her hold on power and her head, and Mal, who has been stripped of everything except Alina, and even then, being able to keep her is getting harder. So much tension was brewing throughout the entire book!
The only complaint I had was that I wanted to see more action (and more Darkling,). I kept waiting for someone to storm the place, for something bad to happen, and sadly it didn't come until the ending. I was a little disappointed when nothing really happened for a few chapters, but oh well. But the ending was worth it. I loved how Alina was willing to make sacrifices, loved how she was able to find a way to twist everything around. The ending has left me with even more dying questions, and I desperately want answers! I'm off to find myself a copy of Ruin and Rising now...