Siege and Storm

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

 Title & Author: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
 Release Date: June 4. 2013
 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
 Series Details: Trilogy (Book 2)
 Description: “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.”

“The pickle king had spared no expense.”

That really has nothing to do with my review, but I just finished the second installment of the Grisha trilogy and needed a moment to gather my thoughts. Plus it’s Bardugo’s most blissfully random sentence taken out of context. Have a better one? Comment below!

As for the second story in the Grisha saga, Siege and Storm picks up after the could-have-been conclusion of Shadow and Bone. You know so it could have survived as a standalone if the series was never picked up. In fact, I suspect in some sad universe somewhere, Alina and Mal are off living “normal” lives together never speaking of their youth. This is the same universe where Brad Pitt finished his journalism degree and never moved to Hollywood and J.K. Rowling listened to the first 12 publishers. I call it the realm of unfulfilled potential.

Had Siege and Storm never hit the shelves we would have been robbed of a more thorough understanding of Ravka’s political landscape, a deeper look into the mysterious link of magic/power surrounding Alina and the Darkling, a charming batch of new secondary characters, oodles of foreshadowy goodness, and most importantly, my newest book boyfriend pirate privateer.

While I was never bored with the material, certain elements (read: war room meetings, training sessions, Mal & Alina’s “why won’t you change yourself in order to love me” melodrama) did drag throughout this 400+ page manuscript before coming to a sudden and rather jarring clusterf**k of an ending. That being said, I would gladly reread it all in order to experience the dingier parts of Ravka, a snarkier Alina, the grin-inducing quips of Nikolai, and the insta-camaraderie of the twins.

Seriously how do you not swoon with passages like this:

“The sign in the window advertised hot baths and tick-free beds in five different languages. Having sampled the bathtub ad the bed, I knew the sign lied no matter how you translated it.”

“He was cocky and brash, and always used ten words when two would do, but I was impressed with the way he led his crew.

Alina: “What did you and Tolya play with?” Tamar: “The skulls of our enemies.”

 Overall…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far, but similar to Alina’s plight for the firebird, I feel like a part of my understanding is missing, and I’m hoping I’ll find it in the final volume: Ruin and Rising.

P.S. Nikolai better be okay or I’m going to lose it.

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