By: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Series: The Grisha Series
I returned to the Grisha series with high hopes and while I liked book two more than book one it was only barely more. Siege and Storm offers a lot to the series but still it was one of those books I liked, not loved. Nonetheless, as I always do, I will finish the series and pick up book three sometime soon and I’m hoping all of my little issues with the story are solved by then because I love this premise and these characters but something, I don’t know what is lacking here for me. Hopefully my brain can sort it out.
Just like with book one Shadow and Bone let me say that while I’m not giving this five stars I’m not saying don’t read it. Maybe my hang up is something personal and since I can’t put my finger on it it’s probably just me. Many people love this series and I will say the Leah Bardugo’s writing is enjoyable.
Perhaps the thing I loved the most about this book is that, unlike it’s predecessor it starts of quickly. Action begins immediately and it really doesn’t let up. The slow build in the first book, while needed to explain the world, did distract me from the story at times and I appreciated that this time around we were thrown right in.
Other things I enjoyed about this book right away was that we see the characters are flawed, imperfect and to that end weak to some degree. All characters need weakness and Alina and Mal’s inability to hide from the Darkling made it possible for this book to have the action it needed. It would’ve been a boring book if they spent so much of it just effectively hiding away. I liked, from a plot sense, that they were recaptured early on in the book.
Another fantastic point of this book is the new characters that are introduced. Specifically Sturmhond and the twins Tolya and Tamar. Sturmhond is a fantastic addition to the cast of characters because he is that witty, snarky, take no prisoners kind of character that really knows who they are, what they want and how to get it. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, not even the Darkling and essentially is the only reason Alina and Mal have a fighting chance in their quest to defeat the Darkling. The twins, other than having the air of mystery about them, also make me happy because, well, they’re twins. Try as I might, as a twin, I always cheer for twin characters.
One character that was intriguing but I was immediately suspicious of was the Apparat. He was there in book one but not really there too much to drive the story. Now he is the head of a cult, Sankta Alina, that worships Alina and her Sun Summoner powers. Creepy? You bet. And for that I cannot trust this character but he definitely adds another layer to Alina’s troubles.
One of the items that pestered me as I continued to read, and one of my issues that I can indeed pinpoint, is Alina’s constant internal self-doubt. All characters have doubt but with Alina it was so constant sometimes I felt she doubted her decision to put her right shoe on before her left. As her power grew I had hoped her doubt would fade but it didn’t and while it is realistic that someone would struggle so much I still felt frustrated. I wanted her confidence to grow and I wanted Alina to realize how much of a bad ass she was becoming without doubting herself every step of the way.
I wasn’t sure how to rate this so I settled in the middle and, because I liked it slightly better than Shadow and Bone it got a slightly higher rating. As the second book in a trilogy this book definitely served it’s purpose.