(Cover/Synopsis from Goodreads,com)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Publication: June 4th, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis: 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.
3 amplifiers + new, terrifying creatures + love triangle + epic battle scenes + new characters = Siege & Storm.
Where to start? Let’s try Alina:
“I can’t just be Alina again. That girl is gone.”
Throughout Siege and Storm, Alina becomes more powerful, and with that power, comes the darkness inside her. She is still witty, fun, and brave Alina, but she’s flocked by proposals (two!), a cult that believes she’s a saint, The Darkling and his new creatures, horrifying visions, and multiple betrayals. She’s losing Mal, and ultimately, herself.
Alina was not a Mary Sue in Siege and Storm, she was never a Mary Sue in the first place, actually. I applaud Leigh Bardugo for that, and for making Alina susceptible to the darkness, to the war threatening, to the love she’s losing. She was damaged, she was losing hope,and it seemed that everyone else was placing their high expectations and fears on top of her.
Under all of this pressure, Alina is not the same girl, as she says to Mal in the quote above. I really do hope that she returns to who she was before all of the power. I did like seeing her change and grow as a character, but I definitely prefer her as her usual witty and happy self.
And Mal prefers her that way, too.
“I don’t belong here, Alina. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
As Alina grows to change, so does Mal. He and Alina’s relationship is not going so well. Believe me, this is the kind of book where you totally ship one couple and hate the other pairings. I haven’t decided who I ship ultimately, but Malina (Mal/Alina) is a pretty good pairing. I was begging for them to make up, to have each other’s backs again. A possible reason they might not:
“Do you like me?”
“Only when I don’t want to stab you.”
A new character! I won’t stay too much about him because I don’t want to spoil anything, but Sturmond/Nikkolai is a pretty funny character. He’s a bit of a mystery, and no matter how in denial Alina is about his affections, I truly think that he does love her.
Besides love triangles and all the drama, we have: The Darkling and the new, terrifying creatures mentioned above:
“There is no ordinary life for people like you and me.”
The Darkling is never really present until the end of the book, but he pops up here and there, and I mean it when I say he literally pops up. He’s like a bad omen, never far from Alina, always pulling the strings and making her life, powers, and relationships messy and complicated.
He’s also got some new toys to play with: nichevo’ya
“It was a creature wrought from shadow, its face blank and devoid of features. Its body seemed to tremble and blur, then form again: legs long hands ending in the dim suggestion of claws, a broad back crested by wings that roiled and shifted as they unfurled in a black stain. It was almost like a volcra, but its shape was more human. And it did not fear the light. It did not fear me.”
I thought to myself, “Oh no, here we go again with the Harry Potter rip-off dementor thing again.” I was mildly surprised. These creatures bite. And they’re nearly impossible to defeat, when you kill one another quickly takes it’s place. No rip-off.
And how are we going to fight these deadly creatures? War:
“We might actually have a fighting chance,” I said in amazement.
During the second half of the book, Alina and Sturmond/Nikkoali prepare war with strategy talks. They were really planning everything, and I could just feel the climax coming. That got me pretty excited. I was ready to see an epic battle, and yes, I got what I wanted.
“Just a little longer, I thought. Just enough so I know I’ve sent him to the next world before I follow.”
~ pg 421
I did not expect everything to happen so quickly: one moment we were with Alina at some dinner, the next all chaos has broken free. The ending was fast paced, crazy, and leaves you begging for the final conclusion in Ruin & Rising. I was confused a bit by some parts of the ending, especially when Alina does what she does to The Darkling. Sorry, trying not to include any spoilers.
Summing it Up:
Siege and Storm was a satisfying read, and I’m ready for the epic conclusion of the Grisha Trilogy. I’m excited to read Ruin and Rising, but I also don’t want my favorite characters to die.
Leigh Bardugo listed three things to expect from Ruin and Rising in the back of Siege and Storm:
1. Not everyone survives.
2. Those who do will be much changed.
3. Yes, you will learn the Darkling’s true name. Despite Internet rumors, it is not Hubert.
I have a few guesses about who I think might die, and who might betray Alina, but Leigh Bardugo does a pretty good job at keeping all options open. I’m going to have to restrain myself from looking ahead when I read Ruin and Rising. I hope it does not disappoint.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars