By: Celine | July 24, 2014 | (20) Comments

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, #2
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 423
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

This review is spoiler-free for the series.

Siege and Storm is everything I wanted from Shadow and Bone. Though I enjoyed the first book in the Grisha series, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed, because I didn’t seem to feel the love everyone else did. I couldn’t connect to the characters, and it just all felt a little bit flat for me. But Siege and Storm… Whoa. This was so much better.

One of my main problems with Shadow and Bone was Alina. I just couldn’t get a feel for her character, and she fell flat for me. Bardugo, however, does some tremendous developing of character during Siege and Storm. Alina grows so much, and I loved how incredibly flawed she was. She is not immune to power, and it changes her slowly and in a realistic way. The way her character develops was just so magnificently done, and I love how Bardugo doesn’t shy away from giving her heroine just a few possibly villainous traits.

The other characters, though, I didn’t feel as much for. Though I know many people dislike Mal in Siege and Storm, my opinion of him didn’t change much. That means I don’t hate him, but don’t really feel for him either. I know he’s important to Alina, but I don’t really care about him. Basically, he just exists and I don’t have any opinion on him besides that 😛 The problem with this is that I didn’t really feel Mal and Alina’s “love” for each other. There are a few scenes where one of them is being treathened to affect the other, and because I just didn’t feel that love those felt a little unrealistic to me. In the beginning, especially, they reminded me a bit of Edward and Bella (*gasp*, yes, I did just go there) because of their “don’t hurt him/her, I’ll do what you want!” I’m happy to report it doesn’t stay like that in the rest of the novel. Their relationship certainly goes through some trouble and while I still don’t care about the Mal/Alina ship, I am glad that their relationship developed and evolved.

I’m afraid to report that my feelings on the Darkling haven’t changed either. I still fail to see that dark seductivness that makes me want to swoon. I know many people love him, but I just can’t. How I wish I could, though. However, the Darkling as a villain as opposed to a love interest doesn’t disappoint. He can be scary; he’s absolutely powerful and determined to get what he wants.

We’re introduced to some new characters in Siege and Storm, and I’m so happy we met them. Sturmhond is absolutely hilarious and I loved him from his first appearance in the book. His snark won me over from the start and I’m happy he stayed around for a while. We’re also introduced to the kickass twins Tolya and Tamar, and they’re tougher than nails and also awesome.

The romance in general I had some problems with. I think my main problem is I don’t ship Alina with anyone. I don’t like Mal enough, I don’t really get the Darkling, and the third possible love interest we’re introduced to, though delightful, doesn’t fit with Alina in my opinion. I also don’t really like how everyone seems to want Alina. Mal I can get – they’ve been together since they were little kids – and the Darkling too – Alina’s power attracts him – but I didn’t really think it was necessary to introduce a third love interest.

Siege and Storm mostly felt like a journey, though with plenty of action, to the third book of the series. Though it’s a complete story on its own, I do feel like it mainly served as a build-up to the undoubtedly climactic Ruin and Rising. However, it was a build-up I thoroughly enjoyed and that surprised me time and again with how much I liked it. Though I admit I could have dropped the series after Shadow and Bone without a lot of thought, I now need Ruin and Rising like burning. Good thing it’s already in my possession. I’m off to read now!

4.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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20 Responses to Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Siiri says:

    Hiiii Celine! It feels like we haven’t talked in ages. How have you been? I’m so sorry about what’s coming next, I truly am. You see.. I haven’t read this series yet 😀 And I want to binge it and know nothing other than I already do: there’s Alina, Mal, Sturmhond and Darkling. Russian-inspired mythology. And nothing else. I haven’t read any of the reviews for these books so my apologies that I won’t be reading yours either. BUT I will catch up with everything via Goodreads one day. I’m glad to see from your rating that you loved it 🙂
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    • Celine says:

      You’re right! I’m good, enjoying my holiday 😀 What about you?

      Haha, I totally understand not reading reviews! I do that myself all the time. But yes, I really enjoyed this one 🙂 I hope you’ll love the series when you get to it 😀

  2. Yay! Stormhund is the best! ^^
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  3. Rashika says:

    I know right? The idea of all these girls infatuated with this one chick is somewhat bothersome. I haven’t even gotten to this book yet so I am not sure how I’ll feel but in general that idea does nothing for me…. Also personally, I never saw the Darkling as a love interest .-. I saw him as a villain and I think he is the perfect villain whereas… an extremely hateable love interest LOL.

    I am glad you were able to enjoy this a lot more though, Celine!! 🙂

    Lovely review!! 🙂
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    • Celine says:

      Ha, yeah, the Darkling as a love interest doesn’t work for me either. But apparently a lot of people did see him that way, so… I didn’t really like how everyone suddenly falls for Alina, but her character development was extremely good, so I’m willing to forgive it, haha.

      Thanks, Rashika <33

  4. I just read your review for Shadow and Bone as well and I’m glad you ended up liking this more! Maybe Ruin and Rising will be even better?! I loved Siege and Storm as well but I still have yet to finish off the series. Hope I can soon!

  5. I skimmed your review, but I am glad that you enjoyed it overall. I haven’t read this series yet, and I do plan to do that in the near future. It’s best to read a series when it’s over! I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out. I’ve seen not-so favorable reviews on this book, but I will still add the series to my tbr 😀
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    • Celine says:

      Haha, that’s always the advantage of reading series after they’re finished 😀 Personally, I thought Siege and Storm was much better than Shadow and Bone, but I also know some people who thought it was the other way around. I hope you like them, shoudl you ever get to them 😀

  6. Tanja says:

    It’s so funny, but I think I enjoyed Shadow and Bone a bit more. I mean this one was amazing and like you said Alina’s character was a really nicely developed here. I just cannot wait for you to read Ruin and Rising to see what you think of many things (I don’t want to spoil but I’m sure you’ll figure it out). But yeah Sturmhond was so amazing. I really liked him and I’m not surprised that her is Leigh’s fave character. Great review, Celine 🙂
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    • Celine says:

      I know more people who liked Shadow and Bone best! I thoroughly enjoyed S&S though because Alina gets SO much character development. And, of course, Sturmhond. Haha.

      Thanks, Tanja <33

  7. Melanie says:

    Woah a third love interest? O.O Well now… I don’t like Darkling much either so I prefer Mal much more and he’s very sweet IMO. I still have yet to read this one but I have high hopes!

    Lovely review, Celine! <33

  8. Lyn Kaye says:

    I am going to admit how blind I am. It took me forever to figure out that Alina and Mal were “the one” for each other, because I still saw it as a close friendship. Like you, I never got the chemistry, Strumhond is the BEST.
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    • Celine says:

      I can definitely see that! I personally did see they were supposed to be the one for each other because I thought it was implied in the first chapters, and also people always talked about Mal as a love interest 😛 But to say I shipped them… Nahh. Stormhund was amazing though!

  9. YESSSS. So happy that this lived up to your expectations, Celine! The Grisha trilogy is one of my favorite series ever, so every time I see a positive review for the books I get a little too excited… as you will probably see in a few moments. xD

    Alina really did develop a lot more in this book. I didn’t have as much an issue connecting with her as you did in the first book, but I loved how human Leigh portrayed her here. She was power-hungry and was willing to push aside the people who meant dearest to her to get what she wanted — like you said, it really helped giving Alina a few “bad” traits. Made her seem a lot more realistic. Lolll, I loved Mal in both Shadow & Bone and Siege & Storm, but I guess I can see why people wouldn’t like him much. I guess he’s kind of a flat character, eh? But wow, I think you’re the first person I’ve come across who didn’t have a tiny bit of swoony feelings for the Darkling! I loved him a LOT in both books, haha. But yes, Sturmhond is definitely one of the biggest highlights of this book. I heard he has a much bigger role in the last book (which I haven’t read yet either), so yay!!! 😀

    Another thing I really liked about this book was how Leigh continued carving out the world of Ravka. We already got such rich world building in the first book, so I was so happy when it continued in the second. I can’t wait to get to Ruin & Rising, too! WE CAN FANGIRL TOGETHER, CELINE, haha.
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    • Celine says:

      Haha! I love it when people get all fangirly so don’t worry 😛

      Yes, I LOVED Alina’s character development. She was just so human and real, and her struggles were believable. It’s interesting to see her “downfall”, if you will (for a lack of a better word), because at the same time I can understand her choices and they might even be ones I would have made myself.

      And yes, the world building was amazing! One of the best aspects about this series 🙂 And please fangirl with me! I would love that! 😀

  10. Anna says:

    Good Review! Most people preferred the first book but I agree this one was better! Alina has grown so much plus I adore Sturmhond <3.
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  11. Great review Celine! My main problem with the first book as well was that everyone has raved about Alina and the Darkling but like you, I couldn’t see what the big fuss was about. She was kind of bland in a way you know? But great to hear there’s lots of development here and you could actually connect with the characters a lot more. Sounds like it was an improvement over the first book.
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