Siege and Storm
by Leigh Bardugo
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.
Where do I even start? I mean, the first book blew my effing mind, I loved it to bits and I was afraid that this was gonna suffer the middle book syndrome. It didn’t. It was better than the first book, if you could believe it. At least in my opinion. That’s one of the reasons I love this book. I keep expecting it to become a victim of the middle book syndrome and it didn’t. It might have helped that I immediately dove into this one as soon as the first one was finished.
The book introduced me to one of the best characters in the series, yes, I know. It’s not Alina, nor is it Darkling (no matter how many people seemed to swoon at the mere mention of his name), it’s Sturmhond. Yep. More on him in a little bit.
I think Alina’s overall story took a bit of a hit when Mal and Alina decided to take things further, at least in terms of declaring feelings to each other and all that. The only thing I didn’t really care for was the unnecessary love triangle that I saw throughout the series, the plot didn’t need it, I think? I mean, the whole Darkling/Alina and Alina/ Mal thing? I was over in the first book.
Sure, the Darkling could seduce her with promises of power and serious sexy times or Mal could become the dependable one or be the one person who had known Alina for the longest time but the thing is…in my opinion, neither of those things needed romance added in. Just the promise of power and the reliability of Mal could have been enough but that’s just me.
The way Darkling manipulated Alina’s emotions via visions was pretty cool, I loved that. Does that make me a sadistic person? I hope not. It was a good plot device is what I was trying to say.
Now, the book starts where the first one left off, Alina and Mal are trying to live normally and to a certain limit, they do succeed? Then Darkling comes and makes everything messy, as one does. They are both kidnapped and put on a ship that is owned by Sturmhond. Alina is manipulated into doing the Darkling’s bidding because he holds Mal. He could anything to him if Alina even thinks to betray him. Here, the introductions to some cool characters happened and I am so glad because I was kinda needing something interesting by this time. More interesting than the evil Darkling and poor Alina and poorer Mal, that is.
It’s not a criticism, it’s just, I needed something more, ok?
Boy, was I given that and more.
Sturmhond turns out to be more interesting and certainly made a lasting impression on me. When the time comes, he betrays the Darkling and saves Alina and Mal and then, the book’s pace sped up. Seriously.
Overall, I really loved the pace of the book, it was seriously something I was worried about. I still don’t see the reason for the hate for Mal, sure he’s not the best person out there but the thing is….in that series, nobody is? Not even the Darkling or the great Alina. I have many feels about the hate on Mal, not even because I love him because frankly, he’s not that great? But! He’s not that terrible either. He’s just a normal guy who has his pros and cons and people don’t seem to accept that. Yes, Alina is going through a lot and Mal should have been more understanding about the whole matter but Mal is a bit more complex than that? He’s weak and insecure when it comes to Alina and that affect his actions.
Alina, in turn, is not perfect either. The thing is, I love this series because its characters are not perfect, nor do they make the best decisions at the best of times. They are flawed and often stupid but that’s ok because they are people, they are allowed to be. Even the Darkling, in his own way, is weak and stupid in certain actions throughout the book. He has emotions and he handles them terribly (just like me, in a way).
Anyway, now I come to Sturmhond, boy that is a character. I mean, he was one of the reasons I truly laughed out loud during this book because trust me, there’s not much to laugh about in this one. He’s the kind of character that makes you want to hit him or kiss him, you know? The one that would make you laugh at one second and in the next, he would say something that could make you just want to smack him. I completely felt for Alina during those moments but at the same time, I must say that I loved every moment that Nikolai was in. Oh, yeah, we learn more and more about him as the book goes on.
I can safely say that if you stuck through the first book then you would definitely enjoy this one. It’s just full of action and the plot actually moves faster than it did in the first book, I think? I would totally ask people to give this one a chance. I mean, if you read the first one, trust me, you wanna read this one.