Book Review: Leigh Bardugo – Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2)

A whirlwind adventure rich in magic, culture and romance.  With monsters abound and powers untapped, you won’t be able to put down the book. Moi Soverenyi!

Title: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date: June 4, 2013

Goodreads: 4.1/5
Barnes and Noble: 4.7/5

SYNOPSIS:

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.

 

REVIEW:

Characters: Stars 5.0

I love every character in the series! From the moment they are introduced in Shadow and Bone, to their comeback in Siege and Storm, Bardugo has eloquently developed her characters. You can actually feel their growth, both in character and in power of the Small Sciences. From Alina to Zoya, Mal to David, even the minor characters has their shining moment in the book.

We are given a much stronger Alina this time, more willing to explore her immeasurable power as the Sun Summoner and ready to lead the Grisha Army. She is faced with concern and doubts from the King and Queen, the other Grishas and worse, from herself. In this book, she becomes more decisive and firm with her role in Ravka and is able to construct friendship and camaraderie among her fellow Grishas.

Mal becomes jealous and feels incompetent around Alina and Nikolai. Despite being the best Tracker in Ravka, he is undermined by the people that surrounds Alina and feels all the more useless as Alina takes on the responsibilities of leading the Grisha Army and he becomes his personal guard. A few dramatic scenes later, he becomes a drunkard and joins in brawls against Grishas to test and prove his worth in Alina’s life.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai? They always end up dead.”

I won’t go into Sturmhond’s character as that will spoil the surprise of the story. But he is my new favorite character in the series! *swoon*

Style and Pacing: Stars 5.0

Bardugo’s style is very poetic, as expected, and doesn’t disappoint. She is the kind of author I dream of becoming. She is able to make sense out of words that we don’t usually use together – which was especially evident in the scene where she was dreaming of the Darkling.

“I have loved you all my life, Mal,” I whispered through my tears. “There is no end to our story.”

Her pacing has greatly improved as compared to Shadow and Bone. There were chapters in the first book where I was drowning from too much romance and Alina started to sound like a whiny loser. In this book, with a love triangle brewing and a war slowly rising, the chapters are well distributed and events feel like they happen so timely but still unpredictable.

Bardugo puts very subtle red herrings that the plot twists makes me run back to the pages where it connected. Her pacing is superb like every chapter can be a standalone episode yet will leave you flipping on to the next one.

“They needed a miracle from their Saint, one I couldn’t perform.”

However, once I finished the book, I realize the similarity in the structure of her two books. A girl from an unknown place is taken in for her powers, people takes advantage of her, she rises up on her own and fights in an epic deathly battle and in the end loses something essential in her existence. Not entirely a bad thing but a point to ponder for the next book and see if she continues with this trend.

Originality: Stars 5.0

Hands down for originality! Thank you Leigh Bardugo for enlightening us with Russian theme for the Grisha universe!

The fantasy genre is overpopulated with different variations of the old European themes of Kings and Queens, then suddenly out of nowhere, *boom!* Bardugo brings us to Russia.

The world-building is just spectacular! I think “spectacular” is even an understatement. Bardugo gives us a whole world with different places to explore, two continents separated by the True Sea and a couple of countries all with different cultures and philosophies. The author has brought us a world of boundless potential that, even after two books, is still untouched. I’m so curious how the countries of Fjerda, Shu Han and Noyvi Zem are. I hope Bardugo explores this area further in the third book. (But according to my research, Six Of Crows is set in the same universe and starts off in the merchant country of Kerch.)

Bardugo also reveals the difference of the Small Science of the Grishas against true Magic. This is yet to be examined as well, the further we unfold Alina’s and the Darkling’s powers.

Personal Rating: Stars 4.0

I’m glad to have continued this series. When I read the first book, I felt nauseated by another romanticized fantasy series. I’m so over Twilight. It was like Alina’s powers only manifested and became stronger because of her strong feelings for Mal. (Ewwww.)

But this time around, Alina has learned to become strong on her own (in a way, *cough* amplifiers *cough*). This time she steps forward and starts deciding and acting on her own.

Can I just say that I LOOOOOVED Nikolai?! (Move over Mal!) Not only that he is a prince, he is also politically smart, physically capable, and charmingly witty. Oh and did I mention, HANDSOME?! There were moments, however, that I was starting to question his character if he really had good intentions with Alina and the future of Ravka or was he secretly serving the Darkling. (Please don’t spoil in the comments!)

I almost cried when they faced Genya. (If you haven’t read the first book, she is the Darkling’s right hand who became Alina’s best friend). You can feel the confusion and dilemma in her actions. Yet you can’t hate her also as she was innocently tied to serve the Darkling. How I wish for a future for her and David.

OVERALL: 4.75 Stars 4.5

Get ready to dive into this marvelous world Leigh Bardugo has created. Siege and Storm is a promising fantasy book that will not disappoint in any way. An absolute mix of thrill, adventure and romance. Prepare to flaunt those Keftas and your shots of Kvas and let’s go to Ravka!

 

BONUS QUOTES:

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

“The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.”

“Weakness is a guise. Wear it when they need to know you’re human, but never when you feel it.”

“It’s simply a question of finding the right incentive. Prince or pauper, every man can be bought.”

“Not getting what you want can be quite an education.”

———————————————–

Hope you guys found my review entertaining and informative.

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