Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (thoughts)
The highly anticipated follow up to Shadow and Bone! I enjoyed the first book much more than I expected, mostly because I expected not to like it at all. And one of the reasons I really liked it was because of the main character, Alina. So, I was looking forward to hanging out with her once again.
In Shadow and Bone, Alina is just discovering her power and how to use it. In Siege and Storm, she is trying to get a handle on the responsibility that comes along with that power. It’s a responsibillity that I know I wouldn’t want, but Alina steps up – somewhat grudgingly at first, but mostly because she understands that with her gift she can do what no one else can. And also, it turns out she has a taste for power.
However, taking on this responsibility meant a lot of committee meetings, strategy planning sessions, and waiting around for the Darkling to strike. But don’t worry, Siege and Storm isn’t completely lacking in action. Bardugo has provided battles on land and sea – and in the air – featuring soldiers, Grisha with supernatural powers, and mythological creatures.
Really that only thing that irked me was Mal and his response to Alina’s new power and responsibility. At the beginning of the book Mal and Alina are on the run and hiding from the Darkling, and during this time Mal is in his element, keeping Alina safe and working towards a more permanent freedom. Meanwhile, Alina is wasting away and feeling useless because she’s not able to use her power and is unable to contribute to their new future together. However, once their plans are derailed and they get to the Palace, the tables are turned. Suddenly Alina is the one with all the responsibility and incredible power and Mal is reduced to playing bodyguard. And okay yes, they both could have handled some of the situations better and maybe Mal was born to be an awesome tracker and nothing else. But he had no right to make Alina feel bad about the role she had to play and try to convince her to run away, back to how things were at the beginning. Way to be supportive, mister.
Also, one of the other characters made a very good observation early in the book: for soul mates, the two of them were awfully insecure about their feelings for each other.
However, even with all that melodrama, it was still a great read. So if you’ve read the first in the Grisha Trilogy, definitely check this one out.
Source: borrowed ARC