Synopsis: Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a new 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.
While I’ve tried to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, this review will contain some spoilers for the first book – Shadow and Bone – for which you can find my review here.
I LOVED the first book. There’s no doubt about that. But, somehow, I Love this book even more. Yes, love with a capital L. It has come to that. Everything the first book did, the sequel did and then took it up a notch.
Leigh Bardugo is the queen of world-building, character development, and plot devices. A triple threat! Oh, and her writing style and storytelling are completely flawless and flow so beautifully, so I guess she’s a quadruple threat.
Siege and Storm starts off not too long after the end of the first book. Bardugo begins with what I thought would be a slow burn, to ease back into the world, but did that happen? Nope. The action kicks off pretty much straight away. There was no need for backstory because all of that was given to us in the first book (and if you’re reading the second book in a trilogy without having read the first then you might need to reconsider your life choices). You know who they are, where they are, and why they are where they are. Then, within a chapter or two, everything explodes. THIS IS HOW SEQUELS SHOULD BE WRITTEN!
Sequels, especially the second book out of three, have the possibility of being a hit or a miss. Second books, in particular, run the problem of only being relevant to move the story forward and not to keep you hooked. I always feel that if you can rush through a sequel because it’s impossible to put down, then you’re almost always going to finish the series. If it takes you double the time to read the sequel than it did the first book (size depending) then chances are it’s not kept you hooked enough. Siege and Storm is definitely not the latter. It’s a perfect example of what a sequel – and a second book out of three – should be.
As I expect with a sequel, new characters were introduced, including one who has become my absolute favourite in the series, but O M G is he conflicting me with certain a certain subplot running through the series, yet I can’t get enough of it. Team Nikolai or Team Mal? Not only are these new characters a breath of fresh air to a series, but already established characters have developed and evolved along with the events in the story. I am in love with these characters.
If there was one reason for you to read this series, it would be Nikolai. I’m not going to tell you all the reasons I loved him because I definitely think it is something you need to experience for yourself. It isn’t surprising that he’s one of the most popular and most loved characters of the entire series. Alina may have been the Sun Summoner but Nikolai brought the light.
The only character that I wanted to punch in the face was Mal (I think you can tell what team I’m on). Don’t get me wrong, I really felt for him and was really trying hard to root for the guy, especially after everything he had been through, but he didn’t make it easy. He didn’t make it easy at all. Mal whined. He sulked. He acted like a baby. I know he’s a teenager and all, but Mal took it to the extreme. His mood swings gave me whiplash! In one moment, he was in love with Alina and was ready to be by her side as she fully immersed herself into the role of the Sun Summoner, then the next moment he was refusing to talk to her. NO WONDER SHE WAS CONFUSED ABOUT HER FEELINGS FOR EVERYONE!
He tapped the sun over his heart. ‘I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation.’
There was a surprisingly small amount of the Darkling in this book. I was slightly disappointed because I wanted – no, needed – to know more about him. Seige and Storm did nothing but keep me sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting and hoping. What little of the Darkling we did see was mysterious and captivating. Bardugo knew exactly what she was doing and I both hate and love it at the same time! The Darkling is one of the best villains (if we can really call him that) that I’ve read in such a long time. I know there’s a lot of people who dislike him and who think there are much better villains – and maybe they’re right – but, for me, the Darkling is everything I love from a villain. Despite the mystery that surrounds him, the
Siege and Storm started off with the action and it ended on F I R E!
If you love pirates and magic and the wittiest banter in existence and love squares (that’s right, love squares, because it’s no longer a love triangle) then you’ll want to read this. If you want to read some amazing plot and character developments then do not hesitate to pick up this book. It oozes brilliance in every single page. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Bardugo is the queen of world-building, plot development, and exploring every single facet of a character. No series has captivated me the way this one was in such a long time. I adore YA. I adore fantasy. Bardugo mixes the both wonderfully.