Review of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormSiege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co

Thank you Jennifer for lending me your copy!

This is the sequel to Shadow and Bone. The following review might contain spoilers if you have not read the first book. Read my review of Shadow and Bone here.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
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 Story:
Siege and Storm picks up shortly after Shadow and Bone left off. It took me no time at all to be completely immersed back into the story. I expected that like a lot of second books there would be a good amount of reading before any of the action or story progression occurred, but Bardugo wasted no time.

The entire book had me captivated and I would even say that this was a stronger story (maybe) than Shadow and Bone. Both books are perfect examples of an expansive and creative world populated with diverse characters. I am impressed and surprised with the turns the story has taken.

The Characters:
Bardugo really explored Alina and Mal’s character growth in the way they are dealing with their roles and identities alone and with each other. Bardugo does a beautiful job balancing her character’s desires and responsibilities and showing the reader the pain and agony associated with not wanting what your future might hold. It was an emotional journey watching Alina accept herself as the Sun Summoner and realizing that she is not normal and will never be the Alina of before.

Bardugo introduces a new character, Sturmhond, who adds a touch of humor. I immediately loved his character and think he added a great dynamic to the overall story. I can’t think of any character from Shadow and Bone that was not accounted for in this latest installment. All continue to have depth and unique personalities.

Romance is a factor but not really in the forefront of this book. I was happy to see how realistically Bardugo represented Mal and Alina and the issues they would be dealing with in their situation. The Darkling has an important role, of course, but he is spoken of more than actually present.

I have to commend Bardugo on creating characters with such depth and personality that I worry about them and sincerely fear for their fates. My concern is not exclusive to only the main characters.

Final Thoughts:
I fell in love with Shadow and Bone so I had almost unrealistic expectations for this follow up and yet Siege and Storm met all of my expectations and even exceeded them. I will read anything Bardugo writes and she remains one of the best fantasy writers out there.

Extras:
I had the opportunity to meet Leigh Bardugo, check out the recap of the event here.
Read my review for Shadow and Bone here.
Siege and Storm Book Trailer:

Cover Reveal for Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormToday i09 revealed the cover for Siege and Storm the second of the Grisha series. The cover is perfect and goes so well with the cover of Shadow and Bone. I can’t wait until June to get my hands on it!

Summary via Goodreads
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.

Check out the cover reveal on oi9

Read my review of book one: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone Review

Shadow and BoneShadow and Bone
By: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry and Holt

My Rating:
star

note: I read this when it was first released but I’ve reread it in anticipation of book 2, Siege and Storm

Summary (via jacket copy):
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on  a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up ina a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her…and only she can save the future.

The Story:
This is going to be one of those reviews where I say over and over how much I love this and that…because well, I love this book! I loved it the first time I read it and I’m enjoying it even more upon rereading. The story is beautifully written and flows at a wonderful moderate pace. Bardugo creates an exquisite world deep with description. I adore the idea of the Grisha and even better the strongest amongst their ranks, the Darkling. The story is well crafted and beautifully executed. See like I noted, just a bunch of love for this book.

The Characters:
I immediately was drawn to our heroine, Alina. Our first introduction to her is in the orphanage where she was raised, she was described as:

She’s an ugly little thing. No child should look like that. Pale and sour, like a glass of milk that’s turned

She has a strong spirit and I loved seeing Bardugo’s world, Ravka, through Alina’s point of view. Her relationship with Mal is written very realistically and I could feel the tension between them. Mal is wonderful though at times he might appear to be shallow, with his good looks and ease at gaining women’s eye. I never once questioned his true character and loyalties.  And the Darkling, he is done oh so well. I couldn’t stop myself for being undeniably entranced with him yet I felt nervous about what he was up to.

Final Thoughts:
Shadow and Bone encompasses everything I love in a fantasy book: a unique world but with aspects of our own, characters I love, a heroine I want to succeed and a love interest worthy of her affection. If you are a fantasy fan read this book.

Shadow and Bone book trailer:

Check out Leigh Bardugo’s site for information on the World of Grisha
Check out Hebel Design for jewelry inspired by the book
Book 2, Siege and Storm is due out this June

Buy this book:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble