Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai…they always end up dead.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Commentary: Oh my gosh, the second book in the Grisha trilogy was amazing. I loved Shadow and Bone, but Siege and Storm is my new favorite book so far in this amazing series. The book started off fast paced. You have Alina and Mal trying to hide their true identities. Alina is weak again because she has not been using her powers, she feels broken and guilty for what happened in the fold, while Mal is adjusting more to his new life. They couldn’t hide forever because they are captured by the Darkling and his minions. I really had not expected the Darkling to find them quickly. Remembering the first book, Grisha can have one amplifier, but I was shocked that the Darkling wanted to put another amplifier on Alina. The Darkling is betrayed by the privateer, Sturmhond and his crew. They save Alina and Mal, and Sturmhond later reveals that he is the Prince Nikolai, second son to the King and Queen. I loved Nikolai so much in this book. He was sarcastic, funny, but at the same time, very courageous. He got all the best lines in the book. He liked to joke around a lot and he was not shy of pointing out Mal’s insecurities. “You know, for two people with a love eternal, you’re awfully insecure”, this was my favorite quotes from Nikolai. I loved Mal, but his place in my heart has been replaced by Nikolai. I really want Nikolai and Alina to be a couple more than her and Mal, or her and the Darkling. Nikolai was very bold in asking her to marry him. The scene where Nikolai told Alina that he wanted to kiss her, I wanted it to happen, but sadly it didn’t.  I really see Nikolai and Alina as a power couple, I really felt that Alina was more of herself around him than with Mal. I hope he gets to become King, despite that fact that he isn’t an illegitimate heir to the throne. I’m excited to read the final book to the Grisha trilogy, and I am hoping to see more of Prince Nikolai in the last book. I am sure that he survived, but if he didn’t, I would be crushed. The twins, Tamar and Tolya, were my favorite. I was not expecting that they were in the Apparat’s cult, but I liked how the author connected the many storylines in the ending of the book. Alina and Mal had a lot of miscommunication in this book. In the first book, Alina and Mal are finally together despite everything they have gone through. In Siege and Storm, they have their happy moments, but I felt that their arguments were more prevalent. I really liked Mal, but I wanted to slap him multiple times. He wanted Alina to focus more on him, than the nation. He felt jealously towards the Darkling and Nikolai, even though Alina has told him that he is the one she loves. He becomes remote and ignores Alina, and at one point he kisses Zoya. Now, I couldn’t blame Mal for their problems, Alina could have tried telling him that she kept seeing the Darkling, maybe they could have avoided most of their arguments if she had told him from the start. Despite their relationship problems, they still love each other deeply and I want to see what happens in the final installment. The Darkling had less scenes than I imagined. Siege and Storm focused more on Alina and Nikolai trying to come up with strategies on how to defeat the Darkling. I hope that in the final book, the Darkling gets more scenes and hopefully a backstory. My only issue with the book was that the Darkling appeared in little bit scenes, but he got the throne in the end. I really felt sorry for Genya. In the beginning of the book, Alina gave her the chance to come with her, but Genya refused. Near the end, Genya’s beauty was gone. It was really horrifying what the Darkling did to her. I liked Alina much more in this book. She was learning to become a leader at the same time she tried not to let greed overtake her. She was trying to keep her relationship healthy, and was trying to be the hope of the nation. I loved the battle she had with the Darkling. She tried to sacrifice herself just to protect Mal and the others. The ending was amazing! I had so much fun reading this book. I can’t wait to see what happens! I want to see Alina get the last amplifier and become stronger, and hoping that Nikolai gets with Alina.

Quotes: 

“Promise not to kick me again, and I’ll promise not to kiss you again,” he said. “I only kicked you because you kissed me!”

“I want to kiss you,” Nikolai said. “But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him.”

“I have loved you all my life, Mal,” I whispered through my tears. “There is no end to our story.”

“You heard Prince Perfect,” Mal said, and joined us at the table. Nikolai grinned. “I’ve had a lot of nicknames, but that one is easily the most accurate.”

“Watch yourself, Nikolai,” Mal said softly. “Princes bleed just like other men.” Nikolai plucked an invisible piece of dust from his sleeve. “Yes,” he said. “They just do it in better clothes.”

“She would rise.”

Final Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 Characters: I have to say that I did not like Alina when I started the book. I felt she was a bit annoying, that was until she was taken to the Little Palace. I have to say that I liked how strong she became and how she was determined to become powerful and useful to the Darkling. Though the Darkling is the villain of the story, I did feel that he and Alina had chemistry together, though he was just seducing her. I was beyond shocked when the real intentions of the Darkling were revealed. I really liked them together, but not as much as Alina and Mal. Now Mal, I liked his character development. I really did not think that Mal was going to win me over. He was introduced as this Don Juan type of guy who was extremely popular with everyone and I was feeling meh about him especially since he did not write back to Alina. But when he comes back into Alina’s life, I was far more intrigued. His confession to her was so sweet, and it was in that moment where he won my heart. Usually, I don’t like the love triangles, but I thought this one was very interesting. I loved the Darkling; I can’t seem to hate him despite being a villain. The secondary characters were interesting, I really liked Genya, and I wonder if she will become stronger in the second book.

Commentary: I kept seeing great reviews coming from this book series on both Tumblr. I haven’t read any books on Russian fantasy, so it was a very interesting to see how the author created this magical realm. I kept picturing the Little Palace as a boarding school. I loved the ball scene when Alina and the Darkling perform in front of the royals. Morozova’s stag reminded me of the deer from Princess Mononoke, even the death scene (maybe it’s just me). Near the ending of the book, I had no idea what was going to happen to Alina and Mal. I did not want Mal to die, and luckily he didn’t! I had no idea how Alina and Mal were going to escape the Darkling’s clutches when they were in the Fold, but that whole scene was amazing. I kept picturing Alina surrounded by beautiful light rescuing the guy she loves, that was my favorite part. I loved how Alina realizes that she has the power to break free from the Darkling. I did have a few problems with the book and that was some of the words. I wish the author had put a glossary in the back of the book just so I can easily look up the meaning of the words. Some parts did feel a little cliché, but those were just minor problems. I am really glad that this book met my expectations and I can’t wait to finish this series. Lastly, I read that this series will get a movie adaptation; I hope that when the movie comes to theaters, it does not flop, but instead satisfy fans of this series.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️