Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Spoiler Free)


June 15, 2017

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

Nikolai Lantsov deserves his own series.

I think that sentence could be the review in itself, don't you agree? He is pretty amazing! Princes and Privateers aside, book 2 of the Grisha Trilogy: Siege and Storm was an interesting one. I didn't like it as much I liked the first one, but it still proved to be an exciting adventure. The synopsis for book two is as followed:

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."

A few things about the main character, Alina. I liked her in book 1, but in book 2, I have found her to be very...static. Besides the end of the novel, I started to dislike her a bit. However, I am finding her character in book 3 to be a breath of fresh air, but we will leave that for later. When it comes to the other characters, Mal being one in particular, I still don't like him. I think he is a very well written character, but I am just not connecting with him through his personality and I think his whole "protective" attitude with Alina is annoying and unnecessary. If that was Bardugo's intention, then kudos. Hopefully I will grow more fond of him in the next book.

Allow me to take a minute to discuss the newest character to the fold (ha get it?), Nikolai Lantsov. I had heard so many things about the young prince and if you have read Crooked Kingdom then you know that he is mentioned quite a lot. I absolutely LOVE this character. He is proud, arrogant, snarky, kind, loving, ambitious, and over all just a good man. You can tell he cares a lot about his country and will do anything to protect it.

Also, he is brilliant! His inventions and his mind in general is fascinating to read about. Nikolai always seems to be many steps ahead of everyone else and even though it is as if he is constantly keeping secrets, you can tell it is to protect his country and his loved ones who reside in it. Nikolai is officially my favourite character!

Book 2 expands more on the Small Science, the "magic" of the Grisha. It takes a bit of a darker turn, but I think that is needed in this series. It tests Alina and shows the extent of the Darkling's power. Speaking of...he's back. I have to say, the Darkling is one of the best written villains I have read about in a while. His demeanor and the way he commands the story is amazing. I always like when the villain is a character that you initially fall in love with and then the curve ball comes and it just gets insane. 

“Don't feel too bad, tracker," said the Darkling. "All men can be made fools.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

Bardugo has continued to create a world like no other. The Grisha Trilogy takes magic to a whole new level. The physics of it is so fascinating to me. Everything the Grisha do has a purpose and a reason behind each wind they summon or fire they ignite. To me, their powers could be conceived as real in reality due to the scientific background. However, magic, actual magic, is explored in this book and it adds a whole new layer to the world of Grisha that I think many readers will find surprising.

The diction and layout of the novel was fast paced and transformative. Writing the series in first person was a smart move because it really shows the reader just how trying the world is. By reading it from Alina's perspective, her emotions about the war really hit you hard. Whether it's the grief she feels or the anxiety or even the love she has for Mal. It's all very impactful and with a story that is so complex, I admire Bardugo for still being able to bring in that human connection. 

There may be magic and swords and monster, but in the end, I think this story really revolves around a single entity: POWER. The fight for it and how it impacts the characters really becomes a powerful force. It challenges the characters and really shows just how stressful the war is and how dangerous it is. 

The sequel is a whirlwind of power grabs and deceit and for me, the best part was trying to figure out who were the traitors in the mix. I love books that make you think and in the end just mess you up as they basically just smack you in the face with a plot twist. I think that if you enjoyed book 1 as well as the Six of Crows Duology then I think you will find that Siege and Storm is a great balance of adventure and plot twists all wrapped up in a thrilling sequel. I give this book 4/5 stars and now I am going to read book 3! Will review soon!


Happy Reading!


- Haley 

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