Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Siege and Storm

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 435 pages
Rating: 5 Cows

Goodreads Description: 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.

            Despite the obvious reasons for which Alina and Mal are on the run, I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit disappointed knowing that the Darkling would not have a large presence in the beginning of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Try as I might, I couldn’t put all of the blame on the Darkling for the terrible things he did in Shadow and Bone.  I wish I could say I have a strong aversion to villains in books, but we all know that just isn’t the case.  More times than not, I find myself falling hard for the bad characters and their dark natures.  Much like Alina did in the first book of the Grisha series, I fell for the allure of the Darkling, and shipped him and Alina BIG time.  Even though I knew what it would cost Mal (who I do love, despite my fondness for the Darkling), I would have chosen the Darkling over Mal anytime.
            Imagine my surprise when I found out the Darkling wouldn’t be gone for long!  Unfortunately for Alina and Mal, tracking them proved easy and in no time at all they find themselves back in the capture of the Darkling and his followers.  What I loved about the beginning of Siege and Storm was the setting, which moves from land, to sea, to air. With Grisha power, there seems to be no end to the feats they manage to accomplish.  Sturmond, the privateer the Darkling initially teams up with in order to travel the sea, also has a ship that they fly with the help of some of the Grisha in his crew.  This portion of the book and the time they spent in the air reminded me a lot of Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley and Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
            NEW CHARACTERS: I love the twins, Tolya and Tamar, who are helping Sturmond when we first meet them.  Then of course there’s Sturmond himself, who becomes a potential love interest for Alina and who is downright hilarious. Despite his joking nature, he takes everything very seriously and his main goal is helping Ravka and saving the citizens from the Darkling himself.
            One aspect of this book that really stood out to me was this idea of human nature and good versus evil.  In most cases where the villain is automatically deemed evil and the hero has all the inherent good traits, many of the characters in Siege and Storm have some of both.  As Baghra reminds Alina on more than one occasion, “What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.” The more power Grisha obtained, the more likely they would be drawn to using it and obtaining more. Although being the Sun Summoner is a great deal of responsibility for Alina, she knows that some of her dark nature is surfacing, especially with the addition of her amplifier.  She has to battle this throughout the book, or risk becoming like the Darkling himself.
            The ending of Siege and Storm was fantastic and I loved the short story "The Tailor" about Genya in the back of the book.  I had a little more compassion for her after reading the story and gaining some background about her time at the palace prior to the arrival of Alina.  



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