Darkness never dies.Where do I even begin? Just as soon as I finished Shadow and Bone, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel. However, what I didn't expect was for Siege and Storm to be every bit as thrilling as the first. Often times the second book in a series will drag a bit or become repetitive at some point, but there was never a dull moment with this one and I absolutely loved that.
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.
Protagonist Alina Starkov is on the run yet again after escaping the clutches of the Darkling. She has been reunited with her childhood best friend Mal, but as Alina grows into her newfound abilities, her relationship with him begins to suffer. I cannot begin to explain how frustrated I was with both Alina and Mal throughout this story. I hated seeing Alina begin to focus on being as powerful as possible while Mal slowly fell apart in the background. However, a tiny part of me believed that he would be there just when Alina needed him most, and it turns out that I was right to think so. While I can't call myself Mal's biggest fan, it is pretty fair to say that they are made for each other.
A certain privateer named Stormhund was one of my favorite new characters. I really had no idea who he was or what he was capable of until the characters found out, and everyone knows I love unpredictability in a book. Though I'm not foolish enough to trust him entirely, I appreciated his consistent wit and charm. Also an awesome addition were a certain brother-sister pair, Tolya and Tamar. They had a few secrets of their own that caught me off guard but left me pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, I promise I no longer like the Darkling as much as I did halfway through Shadow and Bone. To be honest, he freaks me out. Major points to Leigh Bardugo for being able to portray his two very different faces.
The world within this series never ceases to amaze me. As usual, I don't even bother with attempting proper pronunciation of the Russian names/titles/etc., but I'm so fascinated by the structure of the society. As a side note, I completely adore the covers of these books as well. It doesn't make much sense just looking at them, but once you read, everything becomes clear.
At the end of the day, this is my only thought--is it June 2014 yet? I need Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3). If you're a YA reader, I'd highly recommend this series. It doesn't matter what your preferred genre is, because this series has a little bit of something for everyone.
Rating: 5/5 stars