Finally free of the Darkling’s clutches, Alina barely escapes with her life- and Mal- across the dark Fold, and into unfamiliar lands. Here, she tries to make a new life for herself, while trying not to call attention to her powers as the Sun Summoner.
With the help of a handsome privateer with a double identity, Alina eventually returns to Ravka, where she learns that the Darkling is not defeated. Instead, he has emerged from the Fold with a new, even more dark, power. Banding together with old friends and new, Alina prepares to wage war against the Darkling.
But the Darkling’s not completely done with Alina yet. Haunted day and night, Alina begins to think she sees the Darkling everywhere she goes- even when she’s with Mal, making her question her plans and her desires.
To be honest, I was a bit wary of this book. I didn’t remember too much of the first book in the trilogy (which I distractedly read while on vacation last year), and so couldn’t remember too many of the fine details. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about that too much, since this book was AMAZING!
I’d have to say Bardugo’s greatest strength lies in her world building. Even though I’d encountered this world before in the first book, I was still blown away by the creativity and freshness of the world. The order of the Grisha was a bit confusing for me at first, but I picked it up quickly again, as it became clear who held the power in this world and who wanted more of it.
The pace and plot of this story were quite enjoyable. The beginning of the book starts off not long after Alina’s escape after the Darkling, and it continues in a brisk way as she’s captured again by the Darkling, battles a dragon, befriends an interesting privateer, and returns to her home land of Ravka. The moments when Alina’s on the ship with Sturmhond and the Darkling are packed with interesting dialogue, and brave battles with mystical creatures. It was a wonderful mix of mystery, fantasy, and adventure all packed into one!
With that being said, it’s easy to say that Bardugo’s newest character Sturmhond is easily my new favourite character. Handsome and clever, he adds some well-needed humour and wit into a plot that might’ve fell flat. He’s a man who has no rules about what he will or will not do, but Alina can’t help but trust him, against her better judgement. It’s not clear whose side he’s on, but it’s clear he only thinks about himself.
While I loved Sturmhond, I grew tired of Mal. It’s funny, because he was one of my favourite parts of the Shadow and Bone, but I was not a fan of him, or his whiny personality, in this one. It’s obvious that both Alina and Mal’s goals are completely separate and that even their paths are diverging slightly, so I’m interested to see where Bardugo takes their romance. Even in the beginning of the book, when the pair are supposedly madly in love, I never felt the romance, so I feel like that aspect of the novel fell flat.
My one big complain about this book: not enough Darkling! Again, I don’t think I was too impressed as everyone else was when the first book came out, but the few moments we got with him in this one were enough to whet my appetite! Naturally, he’s dark and evil, but there’s that constant hint that there’s something more that lies beneath the surface, and I seriously can’t wait for Bardugo to dive deeper into it come the next book. 😀
Fast-paced, adventurous, and filled with intriguing, mysterious characters, Storm and Siege is a sequel that lives up to it’s predecessor, and- for me- may even surpass it.
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,