Review | Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Today was supposed to be the day where we discussed our read-along of Siege & Storm.  Unfortunately unseen forces called ‘work’ and ‘real life’ hindered our plans.  Instead of discussing, we’ll be posting our own reviews.  Below is mine, and stay tuned for Angie’s!

Please let me know what you make of my review/thoughts in the comments below.  I’d love to discuss!

To read our discussion on Shadow & Bone, click here!


About the Book: 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.

The Grisha Trilogy #2
YA Fantasy
Henry Holt and Company | June 4, 2013
amazon2 bn2

Overall, I enjoyed Siege & Storm more than the first book.  The plot really took off, and the story progressed at a good pace, not leaving me behind and keeping me constantly interested.  I was enthralled with the story, even if it still hasn’t reached a ‘Six of Crows’ level of epic.

When it comes to world building, I think I was better off having read Six of Crows first.  I’m sure there were a lot of Shadow & Bone Easter eggs I missed in Six of Crows (like Genya!) but I also think, by reading Six of Crows first, I understood the scope of this world more.  For instance, the Zemeni.  In Siege & Storm the term was just dropped, without explanation, and it made me pause wondering if first time readers would understand.  Reading Six of Crows first, I was already familiar with the Zemeni people and knew how to picture the character.  I think that made me better off.  There are other instances too, like Kerch, and the University…  Shadow & Bone narrows this world, where Six of Crows broadens it.  I was glad I started with the broader vision.

While I still adore Mal, Alina too (some of the time), I have to admit in this installment their characters were far too whiny and complainy.  I mean, Mal is great, but did anyone else feel annoyance that he didn’t recognize his feelings for Alina until after she was ‘beautiful’ and a Grisha?  For some reason it didn’t bother me in the first book, but it was something I thought early on in this one.  Or, why does their entire relationship have to be all push and pull?

Maybe that’s part of why I felt my loyalty to his character wavering?   It made it easy for Nickolai to drop into the scene and woo my heart.  Nickolai was a fantastic character.  He rarely whined or complained.  He was sure of himself, clever, strong… You can practically see my focus shifting, and it’s partially Mal’s fault!  In the prologue of the first book, we get this gorgeous prequel chapter where two children subconsciously fight to stay together, and I thought that would be a staple of this adult relationship and it hasn’t been.  It’s been a let down, and while I was grieving what should have been a new character was introduced!  One that was dashing, intelligent, amusing, and attractive!  He kinda stole the show.  (There is still a big part of me that’s hopeful Mal and Alina will shape up.)

As for the evil in the story… I guess everything I wondered about The Darkling was wrong.  Or at least, if there was any good left in him it’s gone now.  Without giving anything away, I never expected that level of cruelty from him.  Kudos, Ms Bardugo, because I think you and The Darkling manipulated my feelings while manipulating Alina’s.  Even if there is some good left inside him, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get past what he’s done.  For me, I think he’s a lost cause.

I’m slightly wary about what’s going to happen in the next book.  I’m not sure I liked where Alina found herself at the end of Siege & Storm.  I loved how she got there, don’t get me wrong.  That scene was pretty incredible.  I just don’t like this cliffhanger.  I think the best way to explain it is- it makes me uncomfortable.  My hopes for the final book are simple: win, and for Mal and Alina to stop being silly and start supporting each other.  That would make me a pretty happy reader.

I know it seems like I’ve been mostly negative in my review, and yet I’m giving the book 4.5 stars.  I feel like I haven’t really explained why my rating is so high.  I’m rating for passion!  Clearly the book brought it out in me.  I have so many intense feelings, I have to just let them pour out of me.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  The night I finished I barely slept a wink.  All I could do was think about this story and these people.  I was definitely consumed with Siege & Storm, and that definitely warrants a good rating.

I can’t wait to read Ruin & Rising!  Pleasedon’tletmedown!  Pleasedon’tletmedown!

4_5 feather

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

22 Responses

  1. I just finished Shadow and Bone last night and Siege and Storm in my next read. A lot of your thoughts reflect my own! I adored Six of Crows and was sad I missed out on the easter eggs, however I feel like the world and the types of Grisha was much better explained in Six of Crows. I worry I wouldn’t appreciate her genius in that respect if I read Shadow and Bone first.

    I feel the same way regarding Mal’s feelings. I feel like he was using her as a crutch — she was always around and not worthy of his feelings until she got whisked away and became more attractive and powerful. I actually find Mal kind of boring — I’m hoping Siege and Storm develops him a little because I’m all #teamDarkling right now (I am a terrible person and favour villains :D).

    I am feeling hopeful for this book because you mention the plot picks up. Great review, I’m really looking forward to reading this!

    Sorry for the rambling 😀


  2. I knew you’d like Nikolai! I agree that he seems much sturdier compared with Mal, especially through the events of this book. I also find it so interesting that SoC helped you with the context for the Zemeni, Kerch etc. cultures because I definitely had a vague idea of them when I was reading these books, but they felt more like faraway lands than actual places or cultures. It made the expansion of them in SoC really interesting.


      1. YES I love that comparison to Alucard Emery. They’re both so clever and charismatic. And I think Nikolai added a bit of flare that the first book lacked, though I think Genya did add some too.


  3. Beware Of The Reader

    Awesome review Wendy! I love when authors make me change my mind😉 I must confess though the first book was my fav and then it went downhill. Why stays a mystery


      1. Beware Of The Reader

        Not yet! My daughter has read and loved it but I don’t own it in English yet. What did you think of it? Better or not?


  4. Great review! This explains why I was a little confused while reading this. I haven’t read Six of Crows yet and that’s weird that her first series didn’t explain the world better. I guess as she continued writing in the world she figured out more of the details.


      1. It’s on my to-read list! Or I should say my ‘in the very near future’ to read list. I have it written down so I’m hoping to get to it by the end of the year but we’ll see. I’m glad to hear she expanded on the world more, and things make more sense, because trust me I was confused for some of the plots!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I just purchased Shadow and Bone and am looking forward to starting this series, especially after seeing in your review that it just keeps getting better and better. I have read Six of Crows so hopefully that will help me when it comes to understanding the world better.


  6. Charli

    I read Shadow & Bone and immediately went into trying to read Siege & Storm…and lost it. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into it right now. Maybe because I have the TBR pile from you-know-where about to fall on me. LOL But I will say I’m intrigued by some of what I read at the beginning – specifically the amplifiers. 🙂


  7. I’m currently reading this at the moment! While I have to say I don’t like this story quite as much as SoC, I do enjoy it! (I haven’t read Crooked Kingdom yet). And I think Jesper was actually in this one…Alina says that Mal’s Zemeni friend is called “Jes,” I believe. I fangirled so hard when I read that!
    I also love Nikolai, he’s easily my favorite at the moment. He kinda reminds me of characters like Iron Man in a way, like the humorous characters with a lot of power/wealth, but who have WAY more depth than you expect.
    I’m not the biggest fan of Alina and Mal as a couple, and basically for the reasons you said. The prologue in the beginning of Shadow and Bone made me ready to ship them, but by this book…I don’t care for it much.


      1. Yeah, I wonder too…(I bet we can look it up somewhere)

        For me, when a ship begins to drive me nuts (as in, I start to find them irritating, especially needlessly), that’s pretty much when I stop shipping them. It’s like, I think there should’ve been a decent amount of pressure in that relationship, due to the storyline, but some of it was unneeded. And your thoughts about the prologue make sense, that’s how I feel!


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