Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

2 March, 2013 Reviews 24 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on 4th June 2013
Format: ARC
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars
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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.

Sequels are really hard to write reviews for.  Mostly because people don’t want to read them for fear of spoilers, but keeping them spoiler free makes it difficult to properly discuss the book.  So now I’m going to have to do this review in code.

In Siege and Storm Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling.  They meet Pumpkin who has the ability to help Alina defeat the Darkling.  Problem is, Mal and Pumpkin don’t get on at all.  Also, the Darkling can now line dance which adds a level of complication.  As well as line dancing, which makes a dark and creepy addition to the novel, the Darling drives a wedge between Mal and Alina by knitting.  Also, I think he may be losing the plot a little.

Twilightmad

Firstly, Bardugo’s writing has dramatically improved.  Siege & Storm is a far smoother novel, both in terms of writing craft and pacing.  The tension is always ramped up, the drama meter is set to erupt and before you realize what is happening, it all explodes in your face, leaving you clutching at the tattered remains of your heart and an ego that is no longer ashamed to see you crawl onto twitter to cry on Bardugo’s shoulder.

I can’t really talk too much about the characters without giving it away – but Alina kicked butt in this installment.  Especially when she got hold of her aardvark.  No more doe-eyed victim.  She really struggles and grapples with her goiter.  What does her goiter mean for her? For Mal? For the future of Ravka?  And was the Darkling right about that Chinese finger box between Mal and Alina?  Mal struggles the most in this novel as he is a salt mine.  And in his salt mineyness he deteriorates and loses a lot of faith.  I have a feeling he learned a lot about himself in this novel.

Everyone grows and changes, even the Darkling a little and I wonder if he’ll let Alina continue to cross stitch, or if he’s finally going to seriously back stitch her?  Or has his line dancing finally started to shake him up?  So many questions, so many moral and ethical dilemmas.

There is little doubt that Pumpkin stole the show and I applaud Bardugo for his inclusion.  He certainly made life interesting and added a great comedic element to the book.  Overall, Siege and Storm managed to be a stronger novel than the first.  Now I absolutely can’t wait for the next!

An ARC was provided to me by Macmillan for reviewing purposes.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
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Kat Kennedy

24 Responses to “Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. samee

    Your review of Siege and Storm made me laugh. I’m glad you didn’t give away any spoilers because I don’t want to read them!

  2. MackenziLee

    this is the greatest sequel review I have ever read. An effective way to communicate without spoilers, but also hysterical. The Darkling line dancing is the greatest mental image ever. And is Pumpkin not the greatest character ever!? I loved the book, but I love it 9000 times more because Pumpkin was in it. He’s now on my top five YA characters ever list. So much love.

    • KatKennedy

      @MackenziLee Pumpkin rocked my world!  I would prefer Alina have Mal so that Leigh could write a scenario where Pumpkin and I get together.

  3. NatalieAguirre

    Thanks for your great review. You are SO lucky you got an ARC. I can’t wait to read this.

    • KatKennedy

      NatalieAguirre I was very, very lucky!  Still can’t believe how lucky I was!

  4. Alexandra Ray

    Um, best review EVER! I already could not wait to read the book, but now I want to learn line dancing. Your influencing powers know no bounds. 
    I have a huge problem with 2nd books, and not really because they are perhaps the hardest in a series to write. No, I’ve found some authors that I can seriously trust with writing a good series. That’s the problem – the series is too good. Waiting for the 3rd installment to come out is the most hellish feeling on earth. The 2nd book always ends with tons of shit going down, with the promise of more shit going down, AND a decent resolution usually is not involved. 2nd books just SUCK. Part of me wants to put off reading them until the last book comes out, but we all know that’s impossible! grumblegrumble

    • KatKennedy

      Alexandra Ray Usually, second books seem to fail a lot.  But this batch of authors – Bardugo, Rossi, Ashton – they are really just hitting it out of the park with their sequels.  Amazing, amazing second books.

  5. Bec

    I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this whole review, but when Pumpkin was mentioned I had to go back and read the entire thing. So very glad I did. I can’t wait to read Seige & Storm to uncover the Darklings deepest darkest knitting secrets.

    • KatKennedy

      @Bec I think we’re all awaiting developments on the Darkling’s knitting, Bec.  Glad you enjoyed the review!  Do you feel spoiled?

    • KatKennedy

      @Bec I think we’re all awaiting developments on the Darkling’s knitting, Bec.  Glad you enjoyed the review!  Do you feel spoiled?

  6. Alise

    Hilarious! Not only did you keep it spoiler free, but you did so in a way that actually makes me even more excited and impatient to read the book! Hope Alina can keep her aardvark in check!

  7. kuro_rin01
    Twitter:

    ROFL! Despite having read S&B, I didn’t quite want to read this review just in case something get stuck and affects my opinion when I get to read S&S. But the line dancing bit caught my eye and I couldn’t resist. Great job Kat!  xD

  8. xbooksmartie

    Couldn’t have found better words for this than forestofthedead. This review was exactly what I needed :) Hehe…Pumpkin? Oh well. And now that I’ve heard Siege and Storm is even better than the first book, I can’t wait for it to come out!

  9. cynicalsapphire

    This is still a ways in my future, so I’m not reading and all that jazz. BUT I had to comment on those MLP pictures, because holy crap Twilight Sparkle is insane, which is why she’s totally the pony version of me. Down to the stupid accents and anthropomorphizing.

  10. Lisa FicTalk

    LOL @ your code words! At first I was like, wait, Mal learn to line dance? 
    Hilarious review is hilarious. 
    Also, why did some of those code words some particularly dirty? Chinese finger box, Kat? LMAO!

  11. onceuponaprologue

    Gotta say, I’m loving this review.  My e-galley is now DEMANDING to be read, if only to find out what this line dancing is all about!  Haha.  I never thought of using code words, but this is brill!

  12. Morgan

    Haha hilarious review! Can’t WAIT to read this book! Definitely know who Pumpkin is though, too many bloggers have been swooning on twitter lately ;) I thought the first book was excellent so knowing this one is better is SO exciting!!

  13. ReadingbyKF

    lmao I definitely have to go read this now!! Seeing so much hype over this book!

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