Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Series: The Grisha Trilogy, book two
Source: Requested ARC for review (I loved Shadow and Bone so, so much and think Leigh is basically the best!)
About the Book: 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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.
My Thoughts: I almost feel bad reviewing this one because I know no matter what I write I won’t be doing Siege and Storm justice. To say that I loved it would be a gross understatement. As with Shadow and Bone my review could be forever and a day long and it would basically be me fangirling all over Leigh, the book, and the characters. To avoid that I’ll be lame-sauce and mimic my Shadow and Bone review by using the same categories and doing highlights! Aren’t I clever? (So, so, so not!) Also, it’s still super long. Sorry, not sorry.
The Book Itself: Again, a gorgeous cover and beautiful embellishments. Evert Chapter number is surrounded by artwork, as well as each and every page number. And of course, the map!!! I love maps in books to begin with but this one is especially beautiful. I love how much effort has been put forth to make these books a work of art (not just the story!)
The World: Okay. Obviously I have no desire to live in Ravka. Things are not so great there during these books. But I love how in the place I felt while reading. Alina and Mal travel to a number of different places. Everywhere they went, I went. I could picture the place (which was NOT COOL in The Fold! #creepy) More than the physical geography, I loved learning about the cultures and histories of the people and places. I want a book of Ravka’s folklore! There are so many stories I want to know. I am such a greedy reader.
Words and Language: Again, I loved the ways in which Leigh used an existing language as a starting point for the words in the book. It just makes all the words sound “right” to me. They fit. I’m a vocabulary geek in general so adding to my Ravkan vocabulary with visits to new places was a treat.
Grisha: I still think their the coolest ever and I still want a history but they kind of freak me out. Like, when I think about all that power and how it could be used if they got over the little caste system they have going on amongst themselves? Yikes! Also, I want, “The Grisha: Soldiers of the Second Army, Masters of the Small Science” on a shirt.
Alina: I have so many notes about Alina! Notes like, “It’s not even chapter one and Alina is breaking my heart!” and ” I want to see Alina strong… to see her think better of herself even when she’s not using her power.” and then later, “Love seeing Alina stand up for herself. Everyone wants the power of the Sun Summoner but no one wants to let her have power.” I love the sweet and comfortable ways she and Mal interact. I love her snark with The Darkling. And I especially love how much we get to see her come into her own her… not Alina in relation to The Darkling or Mal or Genya or whoever. Just Alina. All her faults and strengths and awesomeness.
The Darkling: We don’t see him as much “in the moment” as we did in Shadow and Bone. Obviously he is still a big player. What is this “terrifying power” mentioned in the summary? What does that mean for Ravka? And my main concern, will there be kissing?!?! Kidding (kind of.) What The Darkling really makes me want to know is this, can someone be redeemed if they themselves don’t believe it possible?
Mal: As The Darkling’s time on the page wanes, Mal’s waxes. I am all for this! In Shadow and Bone Mal and Alina were separated for much of the story. We really only get to see them together towards the end. I mean, they are together before that but not together together. Can you tell I work ing a middle school? “Do you like him or like like him?”) I liked seeing a different side of Mal. I’ll be interested to talk to others who have read it because most of my Mal thoughts (aside from sighing his name!) are spoilery.
Before/After: I cannot express how much these sections add to the story for me. It is such masterful storytelling. I love the way it harkens to the oral tradition of storytellers. It just begs to be read aloud. This is another reason I want more Ravkan folk tales! Traditional storytelling FTW!
And since this is the second book I have to add one more highlight:
New Characters: So many new characters to meet! I loved them! I don’t want to give anything away but I will say I love what they add to the story and the twists and turns that result!
I took so many notes and flagged so many places in the book. It’s a little ridiculous. I’ll just warn you. My last written note?
I. Need. Ruin and Rising.