Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
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.
There were several problems I had with this book that made it a lot harder for me to read with than the first. But along with that, there were also several things that I enjoyed more than the first.
To start with, I think one of the main things about this book that I disliked was Mal. I felt like instead of enhancing Alina’s character when he was around, he really just brought her down, and all the time I found myself most annoyed with her was when she was doing something to do with him. I also found it very aggravating that they are just so in love, but I don’t really see any proof of it throughout the story. I feel like Mal constantly tries to chase away other men by saying something along the lines of, “but you don’t even know her!” then proceeds to prove that he does know the real her by constantly mentioning their childhood experiences together. To show that they just have such a history together and are meant to be together now after years and years. Yeah, that’s nice and all, I can appreciate a backstory, but how about you guys do something now in the present to show your love. That would be nice.
Which brings me to something I really did like about this book. Nikolai. Mmmmh, that fiend. Or at least, I think he is a fiend. But in a sexy way. Plus, I just kinda have a thing for fiendish men. Nikolai was awesome. He was a refreshing new character, and I found that with every scene, I was hoping he was going to pop by. I can’t resist a man with that many witty comebacks. His character was the one that seemed the most real and least forced to me. I hope Alina ends up with him, only so we can get kissing scenes between them for me to lay in bed at night and dream about.
I almost find it funny because Mal is obviously going to be the one she ends up with (I really hope I just jinxed that and she ends up with someone else) but I ship her with every guy except for Mal. Nikolai would be awesome, the Darkling possible more awesome still. Just anyone but Mal.
Speaking of the Darkling, he was still amazing in this book. He was more evil and sinister and alluring than that last one, haunting Alina and tempting her. Ooooh, it gave me the shivers. What he did to Baghra was just unspeakably evil. I’m really hoping that in the next book, we get to travel down his dark and twisted path and see how he became who he is now. His character, as a villain, is more intriguing than most, and I find that I’m actually more interested to see what happens to him than any other character. I’m not sure if that’s ever happened in a book before. Kudos, Ms. Bardugo. Kudos.
Alina’s downward spiral in this book was suspenseful. She almost kills people, she is hallucinating left and right, and her hunger for power is growing. I almost hope than she loses it in the next book and her and the Darkling take over the world. That could potentially be the coolest thing ever. The thing about Alina that annoyed me though, besides her constant thoughts of Mal, was that she had a weird, noticeable contrast going on. Her lust for power is taking over and she is becoming violent and evil, so at various points in the book, she threatens and nearly kills people and is unforgiving. But then, with everything else, she is a simpering flower with no backbone. Someone betrays her? “Oh it’s okay, I’ll forgive then immediately because maybe I can kinda understand why they did it.” She catches Mal kissing another girl? “I’ll just cry a lot but tell him how much I love him then not let anyone beat him up because I love him so much and I forgive him.” People lie to her? “Well I guess it’s okay as long as there’s no more of that.” I wanted to claw my face off and bash her in the face with my face! It’s human nature to be jealous and to get angry and to want answers and apologies and revenge! But she just brushed everything off like it was nothing. It disturbed me greatly.
So the ending of this book was like a slap in the face. I was dozing off late last night, trying to finish the last few chapters before bed time… Then suddenly it was like I got shocked. I was sitting up in bed, furiously reading, my brain exploding with every sentence. I mean, Leigh Bardugo went all out on this one. Death left and right, self sacrifice, revelations, badass characters being badass, and of course, a dreaded cliffhanger. The next one doesn’t come out for a few months and I’m going to suffer every day.