- Published: June 6th, 2013
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, LLC
- Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
- Series: The Grisha Trilogy
- Pages in Hardback: 432
- Preceded by: Shadow and Bone
- Followed by: Ruin and Rising
- Quote: “When people say impossible they usually mean improbable.” —Source
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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. —Source
Review of the Characters:
Alina— I enjoyed Alina more in this novel, with that said, I still struggled with connecting to her. We get to see what power does to her, how it creeps into her mind and changes her intuition. It was the most interesting part of this novel but other than that, Alina did not exist except to be caught in an angsty tennis match with Mal. It eclipsed the entire novel and was frustrating to no end especially since Alina was proactive in every decision she made but could only whine about her situation with Mal. I also couldn’t exactly figure out what she wanted to gain in the end. Did she want to be in charge of Ravka? Did she want a quiet life with Mal? What were her long time goals? We didn’t get that because the author didn’t go deep enough.
Mal— His only role in this novel was to cause trouble for Alina. Literally. He existed so that the ENTIRE middle section of the novel could be filled with endless pining and brooding. That gets old after ten pages. He took a complete change of course from the first novel in which he was strong guy that went after what he wanted, so I couldn’t understand why he was suddenly drowning in sorrows in this novel.
Sturmhold— While I couldn’t help but love his humor and one liners I felt, just like Mal, he only existed to compete for Alina’s heart. He was there to look good, say something funny and then go home. Period. Still, he managed to be my favorite character of the whole novel so I guess he earns some points.
Darkling— I was one of those girls who had a big thing for the Darkling in Shadow and Bone but that all changed in this novel. I have trouble understanding his sudden new power. And in the beginning of the novel, said power has limits but then at the end of the novel those limits completely vanish. It felt like a cheap way of writing. I can’t really say much else about him as there was zero development for the character because he was barely in the novel. So, hopefully he improves in Ruin and Rising.
Review of the Story:
I have never read a book that suffered from second book syndrome as much as Siege and Storm. Answer me this before we get into the flaws of the story, what is this obsession with making everything a trilogy nowadays? Money? Movie deals? Authors seem to feel that they need to present this standardized package that consists of the right elements on a three part tale when MOST STORIES DON’T NEED THREE BOOKS. Bardugo series is an excellent example of stretching her story thin to fit the standard package and it definitely shows in her second novel.
I was really excited when I opened the book to meet an action packed beginning but then it slowly sputtered to a turtle-like pace only to end very suddenly. I was left slightly miffed that I had to endure the lack of story to only end up with a lack of ending as well. My problem with this novel is that Bardugo gives us a sense of the story. Instead of getting transported into the novel, we can only look at Ravka through a window, limiting our view. She makes is seem like there is much going on with her talk of politics and religion when NOTHING IS HAPPENING. The whole middle chunk of the novel is dedicated to this:
Alina: I sense that Mal has a problem with me. I want to fix it. But instead I’ll just go to bed.
Mal: I want her to WANT me to want her. Why can’t she get that from my icy glares?
I mean, it was ridiculously angsty between these two and it seems like that was the whole point of the novel. The relationship between Mal and Alina was the sole focus of the story and in the end it did not move it forward, so Bardugo had to drop the curtains and call it a wrap.
Review of the Writing:
There is no denying that Bardugo has created a beautiful backdrop for her series. Ravka is mysterious and magical with its myths and legends. But while Bardugo paints a pretty picture, she struggles with depth and it comes down to her inability to show instead of tell. Her slow pacing and lack to look further into her character motives and story concept is the ultimate reason this novel suffers.
While the idea of this novel is fascinating Bardugo falls just short of delivering. The novel ultimately suffered from the fact that the author was trying to stretch the story into three segments, a common cause of underwhelming young adult novels.
P.S.– My next read is Paper Towns by John Green