Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
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.
I want to start this review with a quick reminder of my thoughts on the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone. If you’ll recall, I really enjoyed book 1, overall, but there were some downsides. Specifically, I called out the polarity between dark and light (and therefore good and evil) in the book—it was heavy-handed, and it felt too black and white to me, with no grey. I also found some of Alina’s rapid decisions about her trust or lack of trust in certain characters to be unclear, and this often seemed like a convenience for the author, rather than a truly convincing argument to sway Alina. Along that vein, I more generally questioned some of the believability of events.
I’m starting this post with that reminder because it makes me incredibly happy to be able to report that I didn’t have any of these same issues with book 2. It may just be plot/character development at work, but I’m glad to see the improvement, especially because I so liked the overall concepts laid down by this world. I was also feeling rather … confused … after the first book, to be honest. I didn’t feel it was strong enough to give it a particularly high rating, yet it was all I ended up being able to think about for the next several days. In fact, that’s the only reason I tackled book 2 so quickly—I wanted to know what was going to happen, I wanted to watch Alina develop as a character, and I wanted Bardugo to prove to me that she had that extra inch I was looking for from the first book.
On all accounts, I thought Siege and Storm was a success. I loved the new characters introduced (seriously loved, as in, more than any of the characters that were in the initial book). Bardugo took a masterful hand toward Alina’s development as she tried to balance power, love, leadership, and her morals. She has come into her own, at least to a certain extent, and that really helped to smooth some of the bumps that were making me uncomfortable before. The plot developed very believably, and I’m incredibly anxious to find out what happens next. And I find it to largely unpredictable, with some twists and turns that I don’t foresee at all. There are no unbelievable successes, though I would like to see a little depressing outcomes—I’m concerned that the lack of any form of progress will get wearying if it continues much into the next book.
Posted on August 24, 2013, in High Fantasy, Young Adult and tagged book reviews, books, darkling, fantasy, leigh bardugo, magic, pirates, the grisha, YA, young adult. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.