Publication date: 6th June 2013.
My rating: 4 stars.
Darkness never dies. Alina and Mal are on the run. Hunted and haunted, but together at last, they can't outrun Alina's past or her destiny forever. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and he needs Alina to realise his dangerous plan. There are others who would like to use Alina's gift too. And as her power grows, somehow, she must choose between her country, her power, and her love - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” I’d whispered one night as he hovered behind me while I tried to work at my desk. Long minutes passed. I didn’t think he would answer. I even had time to hope he might have gone, until I felt his hand on my shoulder.
“Then I’d be alone too”.
Siege and Storm was such a tough book to get into. I remember when I started the first book Shadow and Bone I was completely swept away. But this time around it took me a while to get back into the tone and mood of the story and connected back with the characters. I hated having this feeling, as Siege and Storm was a book that I couldn’t wait to devour, the only explanation I can give is that it wasn’t through any fault of this book, because Siege and Storm started off brilliantly. But just the day before I had finished a 5 star read, so every time I tried to get into this I had the other book taking over my head space.
But I have to give credit to Leigh Bardugo as once more she provided a book which thoroughly delivered. After my initial bumpy start I was once more drawn into this mesmerising world. With the way things had ended in the first book, I truly didn’t know what to expect, would the Darkling, the one who I had grown to adore and become slightly obsessed with still reign supreme? Would Mal and Alina finally be given their chance of happiness? And who would call the shots at Ravka now?
We were given these answers in not the way I imagined at all. There were so many different aspects to consider with an introduction of new characters; Sturmhond, Toyla and Tamar (who I will come back to more detail), and Ravka in disarray. There was always an underlying suspicion of a person’s true intentions. I had a tough time not knowing who Alina could know and trust. But before I could even do those things were immediately thrown on their head early in the beginning. I was both elated and shocked by this turn of events (mostly elated with the return of the Darkling). Again it was a shame he wasn’t around as much as I wanted, but the small snippets we were given went on to show just how much of a powerful force he could be. His loud booms and claps of thunder sent chills down my spine, I never quite knew what his game was and that’s what has always appealed to me about his character, he’s calculating, cold, but most of all a shroud of enigma. Who knows what he has planned next? And I was always thrilled and excited to find out.
Things were a lot different from the first book, Grisha and people were at a loss of whose side they were on, people were scared of the Darkling returning and Alina had to work harder to gain control. In the process of doing so, she was also changing the person she was becoming. I didn’t have a problem with the character growth that she went through as I believed it was necessary in order for her to show that she had control. But I could see how this could affect other people close and important to her such as Mal. I like Mal’s character, (but the Darkling will always be a firm favourite) and I did truly feel for his character in Siege and Storm, watching the person who you’ve grown up with and cared for go through incredible changes right before you and there’s nothing you can do would make me feel scared and useless too. In a lot of ways Mal’s character reminded me of Four from Insurgent, he really was lost and broken and I didn’t like seeing him this way at all.
Needless to say it wasn’t all sad and doom and gloom. Bardugo introduces a great set of characters in Sturmhond, Toyla and Tamar who were quick to bring a smile to my face especially in the scenes with Sturmhond. He was like a breath of fresh air with his witty words, clever insights which at times could come across as insulting but often had me snort laughing at the most inappropriate moments, over the course of the story he quickly became a firm favourite that I’d highly anticipated more scenes with him.
Siege and Storm was a solid follow up to Shadow and Bone. Bardugo once again creates an enthralling read with dark undertones and abundance of questions to be answered which leave you begging for book three right away.
And I couldn’t end this review without adding a quote from my new favourite character Sturmhond.
“Walk with me down to the lake?”
I hesitated. “I promise not to drop to one knee and start composing ballads to your beauty. I just want to show you something”.