Siege and Storm is the second book in the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo. I will link my original review of Shadow and Bone if you are also interested. As this is the second book in a series, I will keep my review as spoiler-free as possible.
Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Audience: Young Adult
Taken from Goodreads
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 wasn’t sure what to expect heading into Siege and Storm having not completely loved Shadow and Bone. And while I’m not disappointed, I wanted so much more from it. I just didn’t feel any emotional connection to the characters and found myself getting bored during the middle of the book.
The characters are usually the main selling point of a book for me, but in Siege and Storm, I felt no emotional attachment to Alina, Mal or the Darkling. I felt as if there was no character development between Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, which made the book feel very static. It also meant that we were going over the same problems that I felt should have been resolved within the first book, or at least there should have been some development. The only positive for characters was the introduction of Nikolai, who I did feel has potential for growth and for there to be a positive feeling towards.
We did get to see some more of the world at the beginning of the book, but we were quickly taken back to familiar territory from the first book. I would have loved to have explored these new places even more, as it would have enhanced the world building, which is something that I always love. What we did get to see of the outside world, was something that interested me, so I would have loved to have spent more time learning about these areas.
I still feel like I want to know more about the magic system and the development of Grisha. I feel like this would have enhanced my reading experience, and I would have felt much more engrossed in the story had I had a bit more background. One thing that I did like was a greater focus on the politics of the system and the issues between Grisha and non-Grisha. I felt like that did add some context to the plot of the book and why certain characters act the way they do. This is something that I would love to be further developed in the third and final book.
Siege and Storm adds another love interest to the already complicated situation, and I don’t think that it needed it. I mentioned in my review of Shadow and Bone that I didn’t like the potential relationships, and I still don’t. I think that the relationship between Mal and Alina felt very forced because I still get friendship vibes between them, and I wasn’t happy with his behaviour towards Alina throughout the book. But this is something that my opinion on could change when reading the final book. One relationship that I have entirely given up on is Alina and the Darkling. I don’t like this pairing and hope that it goes no further than it already has, but I don’t think that it will based off of what occurred.
Overall, I did find Siege and Storm to be a little bit better than Shadow and Bone but not by much. I will carry on with the series as I am so close to the end, but I don’t think it will be a series that I will always remember.
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