Siege and Storm Engulfs Readers in a Sea of Emotions (Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo)

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | Rating: ★★★★★

When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.

It's not a shock to me that I devoured Siege and Storm almost as quickly as Shadow and Bone. If the first book in the trilogy captivated me, I would say the second engulfed me in a sea of emotions. All too easily the second installment of a series can become mundane in comparison to the first but in the case of Siege and Storm, it was even better than the first book and this is entirely due to Bardugo's unique prose and compelling, fantastical weaving of stories.

There's something about the way she builds characters and worlds and power. It's all about the balance of many things but still managing to keep his readers on their toes. Bardugo manages to explore many traits that make the genre of fantasy so intriguing, whilst still sprinkling in other plot points. There's magic, intelligence, action, thrills and romance--all of it blends together effortlessly and in one of the most delicious of ways. I loved the way the story unfolds and how much Alina has changed from the first book right up to the end of the second. Siege and Storm would be nothing without change. Because, trust me, there are a lot of changes in this book.

The plot picks up pretty quickly after the ending of book one and dives us into the action pretty soon afterwards. We learn what Alina and Mal have been up to since the startling conclusion of Shadow and Bone. We learn what has become of the Darkling and those in his presence. One thing is certain: you can never truly hide from Darkling and that, it seems, is the biggest theme of the trilogy thus far.

A few things to note:
  • We are introduced to a character who is actually becoming my favourite character in the series. I would say it's premature to proclaim this but I loved him from first introduction. Something about him reminds me of Adrian from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. He gets some of the best lines in Siege and Storm and is just an overall blast to read about: Sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov. We had a brief mention of this prince in the previous book but he plays a massive role in the second and hopefully will be around in the third. I love his scenes! Maybe I have a soft spot for princes who may be bastards and definitely are in the morally gray section of life but there is something refreshing about him. I felt like his introduction is a nice contrast to Mal and Darkling--the good guy versus the villain. I won't pretend to know what happens next but for now I love him and his scenes with Alina. 
  • Alina and Mal have a lot of angst. I can see why a lot of people are frustrated or indifferent when it comes to Mal. His flaws are a bit more prominent than the previous book but I just don't get the hate towards him--all he is, is literally human. Angsty, not very good at doing everything right and very very sulky. As far as characters go, I prefer the Darkling--but not in a romantic sense and certainly not with Alina. C'mon. I am still a sucker for childhood friends becoming something more so I'm one of the few who genuinely hope that Alina and Mal work things out. ASAP. 
  • Darkling is as always a big part of the story and even when he is absent from parts of the novel, his presence is always felt. Especially by Alina, who seems to be seeing him at random. We know their connection is strong and certainly not healthy. I was surprised by where it goes by the end of the novel once the climax reaches. 
  • New faces! Unlike the secondary characters in the first novel, they provide something more to the plot and I rather like their presence. I wouldn't mind seeing more of them. Especially the twins. 
  • D-e-a-t-h. Oh, death always seems to follow fantasy novels and Siege and Storm is no different in that regard. This doesn't mean some shocking death is going to happen but there is a bit of destruction headed the Grisha way. You can guess from who and why. 
  • Again, I love the way that Alina has been developed from the start of book one until now. We had known there was a bit of darkness in her--and that it is, perhaps, what drew her to the Darkling in the first place--and Bardugo fleshes that out a bit more. I like seeing this side to her. I like my leads to be in the gray area (although I don't know that I would say that she is in the gray) and it really builds onto her strength and power. I like the dangerous glimmer in her. 
  • "Like calls to like." 
Basically, this series is on fire and has everything a reader could want. The hype surrounding this trilogy--and Bardugo's Grisha-verse--is well earned. Full of life, action and intrigue, Siege and Storm is just as delicious as its predecessor and can't-miss-YA! I loved every minute of it and was definitely on the edge of my seat.

Beautifully written and darkly thrilling!

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