Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Sketch: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

By: Leigh Bardugo
Published By: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #2
Pages: 435
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: 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.

First Thought After Finishing: I need more Nikolai!

Lately I have been kicking myself for falling off the face of the YA book earth for a couple of years! I loved (okay, had a love-hate relationship with) Shadow and Bone when it was released. Fortunately, I remembered enough of that book that I was able to pick up Siege and Storm without too much confusion. I am so glad I committed to finishing this series!

Siege and Storm picks up just after Shadow and Bone. Alina is plagued with guilt over how events unfolded when she last faced The Darkling, and for a time she finds herself at the mercy of others. However, with the help of a certain tracker and an interesting privateer (not pirate, he thanks you very much), Alina comes to realize that her strength is far more than what she wants to believe. Despite this, The Darkling is not going to give up without a fight. And in order to restore peace to Ravka, Alina must be willing to embrace a destiny far bigger than anything she ever imagined for herself.

"I tried to turn away, but he reached out and took hold of my chin, forcing me to look at him. He was so close I could feel his breath. 'There are no others like us, Alina,' he whispered. 'And there never will be.'"

Second books in trilogies can occasionally make me wary. Either they can be full of action, competing with or even outdoing the first, or they can fall short of a reader's hopes and seem to stagnate just to prolong the arrival of the third book. But an author as talented as Leigh Bardugo could never fall into that second category. This book did not develop in the way I was expecting, but that is all the better! Alina is given a chance to shine in this book. Although she is still new to her Grisha powers, she comes to use and appreciate them in a way she never did before. She learns from those around her and grows into someone worthy of being a leader and a heroine.

That is not to say that this book is all about character development without some action. Trust me, there is plenty of action--and who doesn't love a good swordfight? Or a good magic battle? Better yet, both at the same time! The fight scenes are balanced with more introspective moments, ones that do challenge the relationship between Alina and Mal. Although I know that Mal was the "first boy," I have to say that he was never my favorite. They may have been childhood friends, but sometimes life changes. I have an idea what direction this may take in the third book, but with this author, you just never know!

Then there is The Darkling. Oh, The Darkling. (Funny story...I put that in my review of Shadow and Bone as well!) Leigh Bardugo shows her skill as a writer when you can love and hate a villain at the same time. He still has his role to play, and he does so in a way as mysterious as ever. In addition to contending with him, Alina becomes embroiled in Ravkan politics. I've always found royal court life fascinating, so I enjoyed this aspect of the novel as well. All in all, there is never a dull moment, and I found myself turning page after page, eager to move deeper into the story and discover what happened next.

Most Memorable Aspect: I did mention Nikolai, yes? He intrigued me from the moment that he walked onto the page. Gotta love him!


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