Siege and Storm is the much anticipated second release in The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. The first book, Shadow and Bone, topped many “Best of 2012” lists for its creativity and fresh approach towards fantasy, including mine.
Alina and Mal have fled the Small Palace and the Darkling. Hiding in secret, the two are trying to forget the past, but Alina is haunted by her life as a Sun Summoner and by the magic of the Darkling. Taking refuge on a whaling ship under the Captain (and privateer) Sturmhond, Alina’s past quickly catches up to her. The Darkling has come to reclaim her for Ravka and steers them all onto a path to attain his ultimate goal – retrieving Alina and making her the most powerful Grisha in the world.
Alina’s journey through this book is best described in one word – bittersweet. With every step forward as the Sun Summoner she abandons pieces of herself, her past, and her future. Her relationship with Mal is tried and tested even as she forms new ones with new characters. Sturmhond, and his crew, become key elements in this book, forging a path that Alina must walk upon. She also cannot forget the Darkling who shadows her waking, and sleeping, thoughts.
But of course everyone is dying to know who Alina ends up with, and as to that my lips are sealed. Rest assured that Alina’s relationship with the man she loves is just as fun to read as the first book was. The moments between the two are sweet, and tragic, and absolutely riveting. I read the better part of this book with my toes completely curled. I loved the romantic dynamic in this series. I rarely get so sucked into a triangle but I love the one in these books. It actually works, for one thing, leaving the reader so torn in who she wants Alina to choose – the good boy, Mal or the ultimate bad boy, the Darkling.
And who doesn’t love the Darkling? Come on… he’s the quintessential bad boy.
And, of course, just when I thought it wouldn’t get any better Bardugo threw in a twist. Scratch that, she threw in about ten twists, and then directed the plot from there. It’s one of those books where you think it’s going one place and fifty pages later you’ve had three different epiphanies about the story. Which is phenomenal. Bardugo always had me guessing. I really loved what she did with the mythology in this particular book. Again, just when I thought I knew where it was going it when another ten turns down the road.
I can’t wait to see what happens in book three. We’ll see if it continues to remind me of Catching Fire in Ruin and Rising. It definitely had moments where I thought of Collins and Katniss, though it’s nothing at all like it (in tone). It’s still fantasy, and it’s still very much Bardugo.
And I loved every word.
5 out of 5 stars.
* Siege and Storm releases June 4, 2013. Please do not ask to borrow my ARC.