Review: Siege and Storm

10:23 Cilla P 2 Comments

Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha: Book 2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo
Source: Periplus Bookstore
Synopsis: 

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.

Review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

“The ox feels the yoke, but does the bird feel the weight of its wings?”

I was so excited to finally get my hands on this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow and Bone. Thankfully, it didn't disappoint. Leigh Bardugo has built an intricate world and painted it in vivid details. I loved wandering through Ravka along with Alina, even if not all parts of the country was pretty. As Alina ended her run and journeyed back to Os Alta, we are reminded of the destruction The Darkling had created through the names written in blood on a church wall, and offered a closer look to how the people of Ravka has gathered around faith, particularly that in Saint Alina. I admired the view, but never forgot that this is a war-torn world, with poverty and desperation in every turn.

For me, the politics is the most fascinating aspect of this series. The alliances, the backstabbing, and the competition for power. The way Alina is caught up in the show for the people and the backstage manouvering required to run a country. The way religion can rise up and unite people to fight and appear to its devotees as hope, yet we are never sure if the leader of the cult isn't just vying for power. It's tricky and slippery, and like it did to Alina, it kept me constantly questioning the characters' motivations.

That's where my feelings about this book gets a little complicated. I love Sturmhond, the privateer with an answer for everything and his own agenda. Dashing, witty, and charming - he was the comic relief for this installment, and the only one whose motivation becomes clear. I never questioned why he did the things he did, only what he was willing to do to get there. I couldn't say the same for most of the other characters. We know nothing further of The Darkling, very few of The Grisha seems trustworthy, and even Alina can't seem to decide what she really wants throughout the book. The constant questioning is fun for the mystery of plot, but not so much when you're trying to sympathise with someone.

However, I do love Alina's character growth and the way she takes up the mantle of leadership. I've always loved the fact that it is not using her power that weakens her, so her struggle with the lure of even more power is fascinating. I also love the struggles that Mal goes through in this installment. In Shadow and Bone, he was the popular one with a clear purpose and destination. That has changed, and coupled with the changes Alina goes through, it makes sense that it is causing a rift between the two of them. There's a whiff of a love triangle here (or even a square now) but I'm glad that is not quite what tears them apart.

I loved how the climax unfolded, and the ending sets up a very different challenge and setting for Alina to deal with. Overall, this was a thrilling read, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Ruin and Rising will deliver the conclusion.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?" I asked as I closed the book's cover and headed for the door. "They always end up dead.” 

2 comments:

  1. This series is fantastic! I loved Strumhond. I agree with you, everyone else was suspicious. It was hard trying to figure out who Alina should trust, and who she shouldn't. The politics really added to the storyline, and made everything more slippery. I was so afraid of everyone backstabbing others!
    Great review :)
    ~Erika @ Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between.

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    Replies
    1. Sturmhond is so great <3 I can't wait to see what he'll do next! I was so sure Zoya would betray Alina at some point, but apparently she wouldn't (or maybe not yet?) Thanks so much, Erika!

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