Series: The Grisha #2
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on 4th June 2013
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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.
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.