I have completely mixed feelings about Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy. So mixed, I was scared of reading Siege and Storm, despite the fact the librarian pretty much promised the entire series gets better by the book. (Rundus' opinion does not count because he's a fanboy.)
The second book in the Grisha Trilogy is certainly better than Shadow and Bone – whereas Alina Starkov (aka Sun Summoner) was overly mopey for a good part of the first book (to the point where I started calling her Mopey), Alina is less mopey this time around. A fantastic turnaround, because I don't think I can handle Starkov being mopey for two books. Instead, our fabulous Sun Summoner "Saint" is a little more... overconfident. Spunky (but that's what I've always like about Alina). And definitely in control of the situation, even if it's not in her favor and there are unpleasant rumors about her floating among the Grisha and everyone else.
But even though Alina is in control of the situation for the most part, there's somehow not a love triangle, but a love square surrounding Saint Sun Summoner.
Boy #1 (Mal): My least favorite corner, Mal wasn't a terrible character back in Shadow and Bone – I actually liked Mal a little. I particularly liked his interactions and dialogue with Alina. In the sequel though... he turns into Adrian Ivashkov 1.0 (HOPEFULLY 1.0).
Boy #2 (Darkling): I shipped Alina and the Darkling back in book one... until the end. The Darkling doesn't grace us readers in Siege and Storm as much as he does in Shadow and Bone, but he's really just that one desperate dude with the way he constantly tells Alina that there's no else like them and that they "belong together."
Boy #3 (Nikolai): My third least favorite corner (aka my favorite corner), despite the fact Nikolai is probably going to end up as one of my favorite characters in the entire trilogy after I read Ruin and Rising. Nikolai's two things: arrogant and adorable. Arrogant because seeing as he's royalty, he'll obviously have a big head of sorts (but not too big). Adorable because of his conversations and dialogue with Alina – I pretty much ship them... even if Nikolai probably likes her for political purposes.
The world building, as it was in the first, is spectacular – Imperial Russia spectacularized into fantasy. The concept is phenomenal and a fantastic pitch – even though I have mixed feelings about the entire series altogether, the Grisha Trilogy definitely deserves the hype and praise.
The trilogy so far is essentially Alina running, getting caught, and running again (with attacks and whatnot in between) – if that's the case for the first and second book, I'm definitely scared of reading the last book now. It could go extremely ugly – down the rabbit hole – or extremely well – mind = blown.