November 30, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Page Count: 432 
Source: Purchased
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


Mal and Alina are on the run, hiding from the Darkling - but that doesn't last long. The Darkling catches up with them, captures them and puts them on a ship so he can find more amplifiers for Alina. Because apparently, even though most Grisha can't have more than one amplifier, Alina can (but in a believable way, guys, don't worry, the world building behind that is amazing). But then there's Sturmhond and they get away and then they're back at the palace and there's trouble between Mal and Alina and The Darkling is coming after them and EEEEEEP. (Yeah, that's totally how coherent summaries look like.)

I Liked:
  • Everything: Is that a fair thing to say? I know it's not super specific but it's important for me to give this book a blanket "everything is perfection" before I start. 
  • Alina: I really, really love Alina. In Book One she was kind of weak, just growing into herself. In this book she finds that she's weak again, but she knows what power feels like. And then she gets even closer to more and more power and she struggles with that - because the power is dangerous and because she needs to use it in order to be a strong, healthy human being. She also struggles with the realities of her life - the fact that she won't grow old and Mal will. That she has great power and therefore great responsibility. And that The Darkling is potentially right about so many things even though she doesn't want him to be. She just wants to be who she was but instead she has to be who she is and that transition is more than just a little difficult for our girl.
  • The Darkling: WHAT A VILLAIN. WHAT. A. VILLAIN. That is all.
  • Sturmhond: I think Sturmhond is probably my new best friend. I just want to hang out with him and pull shenanigans. He's tough and silly and serious all at the same time and he really lightens up this book, all the while making Alina face some tough things she doesn't want to face along the way. 
  • Mal: (I kind of wrote this novel of a comment about Mal on Mel's blog so I've adapted it for this bullet point.) I know a lot of people are mad at Mal. And y'know what? I'm not. The truth is, I don't think he doubted their relationship at the beginning. He was okay with everything and was staying there (and suffering) for her. And he was strong and silent about his issues up until she made it clear to him that she was completely fixated on The Darkling and all that other stuff. Which is fair, because she believes this is the only way way to stop The Darkling, but I think that's part of the problem - she believes this is the only way, but maybe it's not (y'know, since we're only working from Alina's POV). Maybe, Mal's the guy who doesn't fit with what Alina wants and challenges her to/helps her find a different, non-destructive way to finish this. Yeah, he does some stupid stuff along the way, but he's a boy. Boys do stupid things when their egos are bruised sometimes. Don't be terrible to him and expect him to be perfect, Alina. Don't.
  • The Romance: It's kind of a love square now, isn't it? But I think Alina and Mal is my ship. I'm not sure how it'll work out in the end, but I'm really excited to see how Leigh Bardugo wraps this one up. However it ends, I'm sure I'll love it.
  • Genya: Are you crying? I'm crying. Really pretty sure I'm crying. 
  • The Plot: This shizz is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I can't even stand it. The level of insanity and scary is just through the roof. I don't even know how Leigh Bardugo dreams this stuff up but I never want her to stop doing so. It's just so brilliant and fantastic. I mean, I do have a "The Everything" bullet point up top, don't I?
  • The World Building: So this book leans heavily on the idea that, while Grisha can't have more than one amplifier, Alina can. Or, at least, The Darkling is going to make her have more than one. The lore behind this, as described in the book, is pretty outstanding/awesome/completely and amazingly foreshadowed. This power Alina could get her hands on is incredibly dangerous and scary - The Darkling dangerous and scary. And, like, how can you trust The Darkling to not lead you to become a villain?

The long and short of it?

Plot: Perfection. Per. Fection.
World Building: Ironclad, in my opinion.
Character Development: I love how everyone's changing and filling out and stepping into their own. They're the same and different all at the same time.
Prose: Adventurous, fantasitc, wonderful... I love.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Everyone needs to read this series immediately. I don't care what you like. Just read it.

Wait, but seriously, have you read this one? What are you even waiting for? You better have an excuse if you haven't read this series yet.