May 18, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publishing Date: June 4, 2013
Pages/Format: 448, ARC

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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Huh.

I liked Shadow and Bone, the first book in The Grisha Trilogy; it was a pretty well-done book. That being said, I was looking forward to Siege and Storm, but I wasn't really dying to read it. However, teasers got me more and more tempted, and I got more eager to read it. Unfortunately, I wasn't the biggest fan of the book; it was okay, but it just fell short to me. And that's disappointing.

My biggest problem with this book was probably that it was slow. When I put the book down I still wanted to read it, but I wasn't super into it. It lacked the wow factor, something to keep me on my toes. (Though there were some scenes that did just that.) It's like this big something was missing, but I don't know what that big something was. Maybe it's because I didn't love the first book, but still, something wasn't there. Another issue--which could be because of my inability to focus--was the terminology. For the most part I'd just nod along and pretend I'd know what was being said, even though I didn't. The words are Russian (I believe) and sound so foreign and so similar that I just jumble them all together and forget their meanings. (A glossary would be great in this series, even though there's something similar on Bardugo's website.)

A lot has changed since Shadow and Bone. Alina is no longer with the Darkling, though he still haunts her. And instead of living in the palace, she's living like a struggling person with Mal, with no fancy robes or food. And there's a part of her that misses that. I don't want to spoil the book, but there was a lot that happened that I did not expect. Relationships changed, people changed, and I did not see a lot of things coming. (And it was some of those things that kept me on my toes and engaged.)

Alina, the Sun Summoner, is weaker yet stronger. She's not using her powers much to keep under the radar, and that weakens her. However, with the help of the stag's collar, her powers have more strength. (And more gets added to that.) I want her with Mal, not the Darkling, even though something about the romance just do much for me. Mal, too, has changed, and so have him and Alina together. I understand why they've both changed, and why Mal may be so frustrated, but at the same time I wanted them to get over it and realize that there are bigger things at hand. The Darkling was, well, the Darkling. He may actually be more dark. I like him, but I can't say that I love him (or Mal, for that matter). I do, however, love two new characters: Sturmhond, the privateer/private, and Prince Nikolai. They should have their own books. Not only were they totally worthy of swoonage, but their personalities were great and had excellent humor; they helped lighten up and make the story. I liked some of the new characters (Tolya and Tamar) and seeing old characters (like David). I did not like Zoya, Vasily, or the nichevo'ya. (The latter are the Darkling's shadow monsters and totally not someone you want to meet.)

The writing was fine and totally readable. I don't recall having many issues with it. Bardugo writes with a nice sense of detail and quality. She also knows how to write some awesome scenes full of surprises and twists and turns (although I wish some scenes would have gone on longer). But seriously; some scenes were just AHH. Some had me laughing and smiling (and they usually involved Sturmhond or Prince Nikolai), while others had my heart pulsing and just itching to know what was going to happen. (Basically, the last few chapters. The whole scene at the table was just WOW. I love being on edge like that.) Also, there was some  totally quotable content in here. One of my favorites: "There is no to end our story." Hmm. I wonder whose story that is? (Mwahaha.)

In the end, I was somewhat taken by siege and there was a little storm, but I think Siege and Storm hit the infamous "sophomore slump" I hear about all the time. It had some great characters and excellent scenes (and I think readers will be shocked when they read the book), but otherwise the rest was just kind of eh for me. New twists were added, many of which hint to what may come in the third book Ruin and Rising. I'll still read the third book, because I like to finish series, I want to know what happens, and I hope it's better. Plus, after the ending in Siege and Storm...I don't even know what happened. Like, what? I'm still confused; that was all kinds of cray cray. The worst thing about Siege and Storm may be that I have to wait, like, a year to read what happens in next in Ruin and Rising.

Did I like it? For the most part.
Did I love it? Not really.
Would I reread it? Maybe.
Would I purchase it? Yes; I already have Shadow and Bone.
Would I recommend it? The first book was good, and people seem to like this more than I did. So...yes?

1 comment:

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