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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

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. 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.

Released: June 4th 2013                   Pages: 435
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.         Source: Library

Shadow and Bone was one of the most raved-about books of last summer.  Most of the reviews I saw were filled with glowing praise.  While I didn't love it to the point that many people did--I had my issues with it--I enjoyed it.  I feel the same way about Siege and Storm.

First, the setting.  DAT WORLDBUILDING.  I'm moving.  Bye, everyone.  I'm out.


The world of this book is so cool.  It's a high fantasy setting, with all the necessary pieces of high fantasy: kingdoms, monarchies, palaces, old-fashioned technology and customs.  But it has a Russian twist that I've never seen before.  The Russian influence makes the setting unique, and makes it stand out from the standard high fantasy setting.  Bonus points for setting a significant portion of the book on a ship; I love ship books.  It's cool to follow Leigh Bardugo's Pinterest boards and see some of her inspiration for her world.

I was annoyed, though, at the Russian words scattered throughout the book.  The words themselves didn't annoy me, but some of the time no explanation was given.  For example, I had to go online in order to find out what exactly a kefta is.  Context clues got me pretty close, but it would've been nice to have more explanation right away.

A new character in this book was Sturmhond.  He has another name, revealed partway through the book, but for the sake of being non-spoilery, we're going to stick with Sturmhond.  Leigh Bardugo has pretty much pulled Alina's love triangle into a love square.  (And apparently there's going to be another in the next book.)  Well, Alina can have Mal.  I like this new guy best.  Sturmhond came into the book with a bang and he's one of the coolest characters I have read about this year.  Just look at this picture that might or might not be him.  He's clever, brave, funny, and, well, awesome.  He is easily my favorite character in this series.  I can't wait to read more about him.

As for the other characters: Alina has always been, for me, the type of character that I like well enough to keep reading about, but don't truly love.  She's a decent character and everything, but I have yet to love her as I'd love a real person.  I do get to that point with some fictional characters, but not yet with her.  My feelings for Mal during the last book were lukewarm, but the more I read, the more I dislike him.  Sometimes I can respect him, but the more he drowns his problems in alcohol, the less I like him.  (And apparently you can't really get drunk on kvas anyway--it's considered non-alcoholic.)  The Darkling, of course, is as dashing and complex a villain as ever. 

The plot does get a bit slow at times, but I still maintained interest throughout.  I'm eager to read the finale to this trilogy--I'm betting it will be awesome.  I can't get enough of the awesome setting.  And Sturmhond.  Four stars.


Similar Books: It has a rich and detailed non-standard high fantasy setting like Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, The Girl of Fire and ThornsProphecyand VesselIt also reminds me of Throne of Glass and The Demon King.
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