NOTE: There may be some spoilers in this review, especially if you haven’t read Shadow and Bone.
Siege and Storm, book two of the Grisha trilogy, made up for the slow pace which sometimes kept me from fully enjoying enjoying Shadow and Bone (I reviewed it here!)
Beginning on a note of action, book two of this magical series was impossible to put down.
Alina Starkov has been hiding in an obscure village with her childhood friend, Mal. She soon learns you can’t escape the Darkling for long. He manages to trace her whereabouts, forcing her to choose between servitude and Mal’s life.
The Darkling wants to use her power as the Sun Summoner for his own purposes; he’ll stop at nothing.
Alina and Mal are taken aboard a ship the Darkling has ‘borrowed’ by paying the captain, Sturmhond. He’s a privateer (pirate!) with a crew who remain loyal to him throughout the ordeal. There’s so much more to Sturmhond than a pirate; before long I was turning the pages just to see more of him!
Sturmhond rallies his crew and gets rid of the Darkling. Having taken back his liberty, he immediately steals the show. We wonder what his real name is and where he came from; when we find out, the story is almost unbelievable!
His aid in freeing Alina was not selfless, for although he isn’t as creepy as the Darkling, he also has his own motives. Yet even though he blackmailed Alina into following his own plans, he remained likeable. I never shipped Alina with Mal or the Darkling, but hoped she’d go with Sturmhond.
Which brings me to my only gripe: Everyone seems after Alina for something—her abilities, political power, or maybe because a religion has sprung up in her honor. I suppose it’s not unrealistic; whoever has Alina by their side will have a huge advantage. Still, it felt like there wasn’t enough focus on her power because of all the potential relationships.
(Even though I did ship her with Sturmhond so, so badly.)
Siege and Storm is a fantastic read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and tales of adventure. The characters are well thought out, even if some are annoying (not everyone can be Sturmhond #shameless) and Leigh Bardugo’s writing is magical. Her descriptions pull you through the most aggravating scenes.
At the end of Siege and Storm, we witness a radical change in Alina’s mindset. She’s lost again, and suddenly wants what months ago she dreaded—power and honor. It’s this change that makes me restless to pick up the next book: She’s accepted who she is and wants nothing but to take it back.
I’m rooting for Alina to find herself again (and maybe Sturmhond, too…)
This is my new favorite series. I’ll be reading the Grisha books again; they’ve earned a place of honor on my favorites shelf, because they are enchanting!