Book Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

14061955Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Pub Date: June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 435
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My review:

He tapped the sun over his heart. “I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation.”

If you haven’t already read my review for Shadow and Bone, you should know that it blew me away. Yes, it was trope-city. Yes, I should have found it to be problematic and annoying. No, I didn’t enjoy it any less because of these issues. It was wildly entertaining and kept me flipping through pages at an alarming rate. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Siege and Storm. It was still entertaining (for the most part) but it lacked the excitement and appeal of the first book. It fell captive to what some readers call the second book slump and I can’t help but feel disappointed by that.

Seeing as this is a trilogy, this book kind of felt like a filler chapter before the big war. There was a lot of time spent just introducing new characters and settings (which isn’t always a bad thing) but I would have preferred a little more action. That being said, I really liked the “privateer” character we meet in this instalment. I won’t say any more about him to avoid spoiling anyone, but he was one of the highlights of this book.

So why wasn’t The Darkling a highlight in this story? Because he was hardly in it. And even when he was present, he wasn’t technically there. It was a huge tease… for lack of a better word.

Since we’re on the topic of characters, I have to say that Tolya and Tamar are slowly growing on me. The Apparat is still creepy beyond compare. Mal is being immature as heck and it’s really unattractive. And Alina needs to stop doubting herself. Also, I’m not sure if this can be blamed on the author or on Alina’s actual character flaws, but I find it very troubling that her having magic equates her to “looking better” and therefore being more “special”. Beauty and power shouldn’t make a girl special. At least, those shouldn’t be her only defining characteristics. That’s not a very positive construct.

All that aside, I did enjoy this book and I will be reading the finale. I need to know how this story ends!

*3.5 stars