Author: Leigh Bardugo
Read: April 2018
Siege and Storm is the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. This post contains some spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm.
This one was a little disappointing and I don’t really know why. It took me a while to actually get into this one. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book. I think it might have been because I loved Shadow and Bone and this one was a bit of a step down. Sometimes sequels just get the sophomore slump. Is this the case here? I don’t know. But let me just tell you my thoughts.
This book made me question whether I actually liked Alina. It made me dislike Mal. I usually end up rooting for the main character to be with whoever they love. I’m easily swayed that way. The friends to lovers trope is one of my favorites! I like when there’s a relationship before there’s a relationship. So I started out wanting Alina and Mal to be together and the way that Shadow and Bone ends made me happy because they found each other and ran away together. Yay!
Well then you get to this book and it’s starting out okay, but it quickly begins to unravel. The Darkling finds them, but then they’re saved (?) and the Sea Whip/Sea Serpent is found and Alina ends up with the second of Morozova’s amplifiers, but this time Alina is the one with the power over it.
So, Alina ends up at court with the prince and Mal goes with her to protect her and be by her side. Until he decides that he can’t really be by her side anymore because they can’t be together. They’re growing apart and Alina is leading the Grisha and becoming a member of court. Mal is just seen as a commoner soldier and a very good tracker, but still just a commoner. And though Alina tries to convince herself that it could work, I don’t think she realizes how hard that would be for both of them. In terms of their relationship, the entire book is basically Alina getting super sad about not being with Mal. I think that Krysta from Pages Unbound put their relationship into words better than I could. Read her post here! It has spoilers for the entire series but it made me rethink the way I viewed Mal after reading Siege and Storm.
“You sound just like the Darkling.”
“If you ever have trouble telling us apart, look for the person who isn’t torturing you or trying to kill Mal. That will be me.”
Siege and Storm, p. 250
So Alina also becomes closer to the prince. Nikolai was a character that I really enjoyed reading! He was funny and smart and he really knew how to pull Alina out of herself and her own mind. He was very honest with Alina. They became friends and I liked the way he supported her. She laughs with him and even I was starting to root for Nikolai at some point. He quickly became one of my favorites from this book. The twin Grishas, Tolya and Tamar, were fun to read too.
There’s so much going on in this one. And it’s easy to forget that an entire kingdom is putting it’s trust in the hands of a teenage girl. But then again, would it be a YA fantasy series if that wasn’t the case? Alina may be the Sun Summoner, but she is still just a teenager and that puts a lot of pressure on her to lead the Grisha and be perfect at court. I just don’t get why Alina, as special as she was, made the best candidate for leading the Second Army or why anybody in the books thought that. She’s barely trained as a Grisha and she doesn’t have any natural leadership skills and she doesn’t have any people skills either. I get that authors do this on purpose, but usually there’s character growth and they come to suit the roles they were forced into.
I don’t know why, but I found it difficult to relate to Alina in this book. It was more sympathizing for her and what she is being forced to do. These books are told in first person, so you get everything from Alina’s point of view. Usually I like this because it makes it easier to understand a character and empathize with them. I just didn’t get that with Alina. Plus, Alina changes so much after getting the second amplifier. She becomes more powerful with it and it starts to affect her as a person too.
“You’re taking to power well, I see. As it grows, it will hunger for more. Like calls to like, girl.”
Siege and Storm, p. 257
I didn’t dislike this book. I definitely didn’t love it. I wanted more from this world and more from these characters, but I felt like I was getting the same story all over again. I wanted to read this sequel as soon as I finished Shadow and Bone, but I didn’t get it until February. By that time, my excitement sort of died down. I read it soon after and it kind of killed my excitement for the series. It’s just a trilogy so I only had one book after it, but I really didn’t want to read it.
“I have loved you all my life, Mal. There is no end to our story.”
Siege and Storm, p. 417
I have recently finished Ruin and Rising, and you’ll get my thoughts when I post that review, but it took me months to actually want to get back into reading this series. Siege and Storm was just disappointing for me. I probably wouldn’t recommend it on its own, but Shadow and Bone is definitely worth reading!