TITLE: Siege & Storm
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: The Grisha (#2)
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
RATING: 4/5 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.
What I Liked:
- Oh Bardugo, I am so sorry for taking so long to get back into your wonderful series. Book Two is always a tricky one in Trilogies because often it ends up becoming a filler story. This actually felt much more developed than that and I was pleased to get plenty of action and drama to keep me interested, as well as the introduction of new characters and places too! I love world-building so much, so I was pleased to see a bunch of add-ons to what I recall as an already well-developed world. I particularly enjoyed the references to Russian culture!
- In terms of the characters, I am so lucky when it comes to Bardugo because despite a long gap between books I remembered who everyone was and their circumstances/motivations (thanks to a few handy reminders). Even better though, is a brand new face that I adored: Nikolai. He made this book so much funnier and he was so charming too! I loved when he showed a vulnerable side and though I can already guess that Alina is probably not going to choose him, I kind of want her to all the same. I also liked that the Darkling didn't make too much of an appearance in this book. I know he's a fan favourite so that was probably disappointing to a lot of people, but I liked him more as an ever-present threat just lurking in the shadows and at the forefront of Alina's mind. It worked really well that way!
What I Disliked:
- I'll start off by saying that though I really did not like Mal in book one, he grew on me a little here. I don't hate him any more, though I'm certainly still not a fan because I find his petty jealousy irritating and this thing with Zoya is getting ridiculous. I feel as if his constant arguments with Alina in this book made up a little too much of the plot-line. Alina became mopey and distracted and constantly looking for him and it made me roll my eyes just a tiny bit. There was a vulnerable, out-of-place, lonely side to Mal too which I wanted to see more of but when he turned to drinking and fighting to overcome his problems I ended up in a huff with him again. He needs some serious improvements in book three or I'm not going to be happy if these two end up together.
Once again, just like 'Shadow & Bone' I really loved this book and this is a series that is going to stay with me for a while. I don't know why I took so long to get round to this but I can't stop thinking about it, so I'm thinking that book three will be a much quicker read this time. Plot, world-building and characters remained amazing and I loved the new additions to these elements. Mal and Alina? Not so much, purely because I don't enjoy Mal's character. Apparently he's supposed to be liked by everybody but I just can't see why. He's too protective, petty and jealousy. I have to say though, Bardugo could make a serious turn-around with his character (which I hope that she does). I predict that Alina will probably choose him in the end so I would really like to be happy for them (personally I'm veering towards Nikolai as a better suitor). I can't wait to read 'Ruin & Rising', and the Sturmhond story-line has really got me interested in reading 'Six Of Crows' because who doesn't love criminals and piracy and such? Especially from Ravka!