Siege and Storm–Leigh Bardugo (June 2013)

*Note–I read t14061955his book as an advance uncorrected proof*

Book 2 in Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, Siege and Storm takes readers back to the land of the Grisha a short time after the battle on the Unsea, picking up with Alina and Mal’s journey to get themselves as far away from Ravka as possible, a journey that unfortunately ends when they are discovered and recaptured by the stronger (and more evil) than ever Darkling.  With the help of Sturmhund, a mysterious privateer, Alina escapes from the Darkling and returns to Ravka on a quest to find the other Morozova amplifiers and save the country from civil war.  Struggling with the ambition that comes with growing power, Alina finds new alliances and further troubles in the wake of devastation the Darkling has left behind.

Thoughts I was so excited to win an ARC of this book and then I had to wait over a month to read it! (Grad school and whatnot…) The wait definitely paid off.  All of the wonderful world-building and characterization from Shadow and Bone are present in Siege and Storm, but because it’s the second book in the series there is way, WAY more action.  So much happens in this book and I don’t want to give any of it away (especially since it won’t be out for another month or so), but I will say this–there’s romance, terror on the high seas, deeper and darker magic, swoony guys, and a helluva cliffhanger.  I really liked how much growth Alina experienced over the course of the book, and the relationship struggles she and Mal went through seemed completely realistic and authentic to me.  I also enjoyed learning more about all the court intrigue at the Big Palace, and the introduction of another complicated man into Alina’s life.

My only complaint, and it is very minor, is that I wanted MORE OF THE DARKLING.  He’s my favorite character in the series, although Sturmhund is now a close second, and he doesn’t appear in the flesh as often in this book.  Plus, he’s pretty much the embodiment of pure evil this time around…but I’m still holding out hope that he can be redeemed in book 3.  It could happen–look what JK Rowling did for Draco Malfoy!

Overall, I was extraordinarily pleased with Siege and Storm–it totally lived up to my extremely high expectations.  I think Leigh Bardugo has created such an intricate and fantastical, yet still accessible, world, and her characters are so complex and nuanced.  I can’t wait to see how she wraps it all up in Book 3, but unfortunately it won’t be out until 2014!

PS. I’ve tweeted back and forth with Leigh Bardugo a few times and she is super nice…plus if you follow her on Twitter or Pinterest, she’s always posting cool art and quotes related to the world of Ravka.  FUN.

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