Hello everyone and Happy Monday! Although it doesn’t feel like a real Monday for me because tomorrow I am packing my bags (actually I am doing that tonight) and heading up to camp to be a camp councilor for a week at FOCUS. The weeks that I am at camp are my absolute favorite weeks of the summer, and I have loved it there ever since I started going as a high schooler, so I am really excited for this upcoming week. 🙂
But before then I wanted to squeeze in one more review in an attempt to catch up with reviews on here since I am still behind. I was hoping to do two last week but that just didn’t happen between editing, babysitting, and getting ready for this week, but I am here now. 🙂
Also I suggest that if you want to avoid some SPOILERS if you are thinking of reading this series (which you should definitely do!) read my review of Shadow and Bone instead.
So Siege and Storm. I still have a lot of feelings about this series, and I am really excited to revisit the books again, which I feel will be much sooner than I usually reread a series. Siege and Storm starts with Alina and Mal on the run from The Darkling and the power he has over Ravka. While they are away they meet some new characters, including Sturmhoud, a famous privateer. While Alina’s true identity as the Sun Summoner must remain hidden, she and Mal must find a way to battle the growing power of The Darkling, all while keeping Alina in control.
The typical flow of the second book of a trilogy tends to push the main character to his/her breaking point, Leigh Bardugo definitely follows that path here, but there is also so many other things going on that it didn’t seem overly done to me. Alina now wears the antlers of a stag as an amplifier, which gives her greater Sun Summoning powers, but also puts her under the control of The Darkling. Much of this book is Alina’s struggle to reclaim her own power, and to find out what that really means to her. It is clear that she is falling apart on this inside, but that is all masked well by her exterior, which made for some good conflict.
I have read a couple of other reviews of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm through my wanderings on the internet, and there seems to be a large group in the fan base who are Darkling/Alina fans. Granted I think The Darkling is a great villain. He is attractive, which makes other characters (and readers) drawn to him, he is good with words and knows what to say, and he is filled with drive and power. He makes a great villain and antagonist for Alina. And the fact that they had a fling in Shadow and Bone for a bit and that they are so similar (“like calls to like” with their Grisha powers) makes him all the more intriguing.
But in the second book he really does become downright creepy. Which was great for the plot and for pushing Alina to the edge, which is pretty much the purpose of this book. But that does not mean they should be in a relationship together. In fact it means they SHOULDN’T. I liked that Alina debates this so much throughout the series, because it forces her to question her own power and her identity as the only Sun Summoner, but their relationship is pretty much the definition of unhealthy.
He appears to her as hallucinations that only she can see. Danger! Danger! And he wants to use her power for his own good. More danger! More danger! These made for great scenes, and it made my skin crawl whenever he appeared. And it made me like Mal even more. Because he was an escape from the darkness around her, but it also drives a wedge in between them since there is this whole side of Alina’s life that he cannot relate to. It definitely complicates things which makes the story more intriguing and complex as well. So while I love The Darkling as a villain, I really cannot get behind the Alina/Darkling pairing, and I really don’t want to.
Speaking of pairings, Alina has many potential suitors in this book. I can become pretty cynical when it comes to relationships in young adult literature, especially if those relationships take the form of a love triangle. But with this book each character was really distinct and well developed so that they were all more than just a pretty face who had all the right things to say when Alina needed to hear them. Bardugo continued to make really convincing realistic side characters throughout the Grisha series, which I really appreciated. Each one had their own tone, their own sense of humor, and their own goals, which really made them stand out, whether they were potential love interests of Alina’s or not. And each love interest was more than that as well – it was a direction that Alina’s life could go down – Sun Summoner, commoner, queen. This added a lot more complexity to the story than just a pretty face would, and I really appreciated that.
While I found that the story wasn’t as tightly plotted as Shadow and Bone (which also makes sense for the middle book in a trilogy) the action and characters really kept the story going. Writing these reviews really makes me want to reread these again.
Has anyone else read Siege and Storm or any of the other books in the Grisha trilogy? What did you think?