Name: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Number of Pages: 386 (Paperback)
Published: June 2013 by Indigo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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. 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. – from Goodreads
My Rating: ★★★★1/2
Part way through Shadow and Bone the pace really picked up, the story suddenly gripped me, and I knew I couldn’t just leave it there, I had to get the next book in the series quite quickly. And so comes Siege and Storm.
The pace developed in Shadow and Bone is maintained here, and we get to the action scenes pretty quickly, reintroducing the Darkling, who has taken on new and fearsome powers in the wake of Alina’s escape from the skiff in the Shadow Fold. He seems unequalled as his magic has become darker and more powerful, and Alina discovers there are new lengths she can go to in order to match his power, although the potential risks to herself may be high.
There are some brilliant characters this time around.
Tolya and Tamar, the twins are great, but Sturmhond!!! That’s all I need say. I love him as a character. I loved him as the privateer, and I loved him with everything that came later. He’s equally as appealing as the Darkling, although without the threat and darkness which makes the Darkling such a compelling character.
I like the development of Alina and Mal’s relationship, although it makes for sad reading at times as Mal becomes displaced; unsure where he fits into Alina’s fight, and what his role in her life can be, he becomes increasingly lost, until a wake up call sees him back at Alina’s side and fighting for their lives as the Darkling makes his play for power.
I thought the world of Ravka was much more vivid in this series, which I said I would have liked more of in the first book. I loved the new settings, and being at sea at the beginning. The return to the Little Palace and the world of the Grisha was also very welcome and I must admit, I’m fast coming to love this world, and can’t wait to get back to it in the final volume.
Alina is strong, and driven, and determined. I can’t wait for the final showdown with the Darkling. Talking of him, I’ve been thinking, he must have a name, and it’s going to be revealed in the final book. Is there something about his identity, something important? What is his tie to Alina and the kingdom of Ravka? Will he related to someone? The bits we don’t know how yet make him fascinating, and I could speculate endlessly about how all these threads will tie together in the end.
The Darkling’s presence in this book is largely off-stage, with Alina seeing him when no on else can, and she’s unsure whether it’s a dream or some tie between them. This mystery serves to make him a greater presence, even in his absence.
I have so many questions – will Alina triumph over the Darkling? Will she find the Firebird and if so, what will having so much power, unheard of before, do to her – what will the consequences be? Will Alina end up with the Darkling? Or Mal? Or Nikolai? Or maybe no one? And having gone so far down this path to power and darkness, will she retain something of her earlier self?
This book stayed with me for days after I read it, and I’m eagerly awaiting getting my hands on a copy of Ruin and Rising, because I have to know how it all plays out, although I don’t want to leave this world and these characters behind, so I think there will be a certain amount of sadness when I do read it.