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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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Review: Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo (More Scared?)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Grisha #2
Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Reviewer: Sophia

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.

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.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.