Sunday, July 21, 2013

[Review] Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

(#2, The Grisha)
Shadow and Bone | Siege and Storm | Ruin and Rising

Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 26/06/2013
Publisher: Hachette (Indigo)
Pages: 400 (311 in this ARC)
Source: Publisher
Genre: YA (14+) - Fantasy

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

Book Tunes
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My Rating: 
Ambitious and surprising

My thoughts

I doubt I will ever master the art of reviewing sequels but I'll try my best. Let me preface by saying there will be spoilers for anyone who has not read the first book, also it has been months since I read Siege and Storm so this review is relatively short and possibly lacking in accuracy.

Cover: I love that the cover builds on from that of Shadow and Bone: The palace, the looping swirls, the formatting, the typography style. The sea dragon-esque figure that is seen along the top ends up playing quite a significant role in the story's development. I suppose the blurb comparing this book to other Giants will draw new readers in--personally I'm not a fan.

Plot: For the first 30 or so pages I had no idea where this story was going to go. The book follows on shortly after the conclusion of Shadow and Bone: Alina and Mal have escaped The Darkling's pursuits and it is presumed that he is away in hiding or dead. For the first half the plot was slow-going and there just was a lack of that certain spark that made me fall in love with Shadow and Bone. I can say that there were surprising moments and I did appreciate that Bardugo expands the world, the mythology and the characters in this book. The last hundred-or-so pages were amazing and tension-filled--I remember feeling as though I couldn't turn those last pages fast enough!

  • Alina, the main character--she is "strong", "unstoppable" and desirable--but it seems to be a case of "Say it enough times and you'll start to believe it." I liked her doubtfulness in the first book because I could understand it; in this book she was just so inconsistent that it frustrated me. I have nothing more to say...
  • Mal is Alina's childhood best friend, and now, more than that. I love childhood friend romances, but Mal is just so... Anyway, I'll go into that more in the relationships section. Mal, as a character, is pretty bare-bones. Meh.
  • The Darkling has got to be one of the most twisted and interesting villains in YA that I have read so far. His powers--drawing upon eternal darkness and creating dangerous shadowed creatures at will--are so incredibly terrifying and his threat is so real that it's no wonder that he is both highly revered and highly feared.
  • Sturmhond captures Alina (and Mal but who cares about him?), knowing that the reward for turning in The Chosen One will keep him above water for ever. He has quite the reputation, being a pirate privateer. His humour and wit and careless demeanor allows this book to claw its way up from the depths--I just loved him. Keep an eye on this fellow!
  • Tolya & Tamar, twins, are part of Sturmhond's crew. Loyal, brave and strong. Together they formed great chemistry with the other characters.
Relationships: In Shadow and Bone I was one of few readers who didn't want Alina to be with The Darkling. I still don't. Alina's thoughts seem to be on a perpetual see-saw between MAL! and THE DARKLING! I'm already not a fan of love triangles. Add in another player and things get even messier. (If you take a look at the character list I'm sure you can guess who the other contender might be.) Mal is like Dean from Gilmore Girls--possessive, insecure and unwilling to let Alina (or in Dean's case, Rory) reach her full potential for he would lose her. It just seems terribly petty in the wider scheme of things. Alina is the freaking Chosen One! She ain't got no time for the likes of you, Mal. (Never mind that in the first twenty pages she worries that he draws the attention of all the girls and she somehow does not match up.) Alina has moments where she resists The Darkling, with success. I liked that Alina was being haunted by his memory (or something like that), his presence periodically popping up here and there. It's important that terrors from previous installments in a series are brought up again, especially a terror as enormous as The Darkling. Not only that, the haunting helps Alina to sort out her thoughts and resolve to improve her powers.

Ultimately I know which ship I'm sailing on. Maybe this will change in the third book.

Worth as a sequel: Do not miss it! I didn't like it as much as the first book but there are so many great developments and reveals in Siege and Storm that will surely bear great significance in the last book. You also MUST meet Sturmhond!


First line: BEFORE- The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships long ago, before they'd ever seen the True Sea. They were the vessels of stories, magic ships with masts hewn with sweet cedar, and sails spun by maidens from thread of pure gold. Their crews were white mice who sang songs and scrubbed the deck with their pink tails.

Favourite quotes:

"'Besides, I like to have powerful enemies. Makes me feel important.'  (63)

"I had to admit, I liked Sturmhond, too. He was cocky and brash, and always used ten words when two would do, but I was impressed with the way he led his crew. He didn't bother with any of the tricks I'd seen the Darkling employ, yet they followed him without hesitation. He had their respect, not their fear. (84)

"No matter what I said, we both knew the hard truth. We do our best. We try. And usually, it makes no difference at all. (242)

"'I have loved you all my life, [name removed],' I whispered through my tears. 'There is no end to our story.' (301)




INTERNATIONAL: Fishpond | Book Depository

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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