Title: Siege and Storm | Author: Leigh Bardugo | Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
“The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.”– Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm
*Spoiler alert* I do mention a new character – I do not include any details, but you should probably avoid this review if you want to go into this book completely blind. Also, make sure you’ve read Shadow and Bone before reading this, but that goes without saying. Okay, cool, now on to the review.
Siege and Storm is the second book in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. If you want to see what I thought of the first book, go ahead a check out my Shadow and Bone Book Review. I need to preface this review by saying that I, once again, made a mistake and continued to read the third book in the series before writing this review. When will I ever learn? That being said, I will try my best to review the characters, plot, and relationships in Siege and Storm and not include any biases from the third book, Ruin and Rising.
| Character Development |
As this is a review of the second book, I will skip my thoughts on world building because they remain the same – I love this world; it’s so clever and unique I am here for it! I do want to address the character development again. Right from the get-go, I felt that Alina’s character had regressed from her growth in the first book. I suppose this makes sense given all she had been through in the first book, and it is realistic – two steps forward and one step back, as they say. I was craving to see her take control of her life and have more autonomy, but I was disappointed to see her, once again, being directed on her path by all of the other characters in the story. Alina was never an active participant in her story. As we see the world through her perspective, it was quite the opposite of empowering, and that was a disappointment, especially for a book that young girls are likely to read.
In my Shadow and Bone review, I said that I hoped to see more character development from both Mal and The Darkling, and I got half of my wish granted. I learned more about Mal and what makes him tick – for better or for worse. The Darkling, however, remains a mystery to me, one I am near desperate to uncover.
| Plot |
The pacing and the plotlines were a hit and a miss for me. I loved how the book got to the action right away – I hate trudging through chapters of recapping and setting up the action in sequels, so that was fantastic! Generally, I found the pacing in these books to be well-balanced between action and giving us information. A lot of the story revolved around Alina’s relationships which were both intriguing and infuriating, depending on the relationship. As far as what happened in the story, a lot of it felt like a “hurry up and wait” kind of situation.
| Relationships |
As I said, a lot of this story involves Alina’s relationships. Her relationship with Mal, her connection with The Darkling, and even a new character introduced in this book, Nikolai, quickly rose to the top of my favorite characters list. I was way more charmed by The Darkling and Nikolai and wanted more of them and less of Mal. Without giving any spoilers, I’ll say I found the relationship between Mal and Alina to be distracting to the plot and made Alina out to be even more immature and childlike than she was before. On that note – I realize Alina was only 17 in this book (I believe), but she was very immature and sheltered for a 17-year-old orphan who grew up in a war-torn country and was drafted into the army at 16… She did grow up a bit in this book, slowly taking on and accepting the responsibility that her powers and position demanded of her, but I still found her immaturity bothersome. Again, I typically read new adult and adult books, so take my view on this with a grain of salt.
But I digress. Alina was clearly perplexed about her feelings towards all three of these men. At least, I was confused. Did she love Mal? Did she care for The Darkling? What about Nikolai? Was her greed for power driving her sentiments towards these men? It wasn’t all that clear to me, so I’m assuming it wasn’t clear to Alina either. I’m not mad about this uncertainty either – she was young and entitled to be confused and conflicted about her feelings towards men who are giving the attention that she was never given before. It also added to the anticipation and thrill of wondering what will happen and with who.
All of that being said, was this my favorite book of the trilogy? No. Did I dislike this book? Also no. As the second book in a trilogy, it carries the burden of adding to the storyline of the first book and setting up the ultimate climax in the third. And I do think Siege and Storm did both of those things reasonably well. This book kept my interest but failed to provoke any big emotions, and for that reason, I gave this book two and a half stars. Definitely read this book if you enjoyed Shadow and Bone, even if it’s merely to meet and fall in love with Nikolai.