by Leigh Bardugo
Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10
Summary: Prisoners of the Darkling, Mal and Alina are forced to hunt Morozova’s next amplifier, the legendary ice dragon Rusaly. Just when it seems that there is no hope, they are rescued by the most unlikely person and dropped into the vindictive and superficial Ravka court. As Alina tries to lead the Second Army and find a way to save them all, she is being haunted by the Darkling and comes to realize that they may not be so different after all.
9 Superior Things about Leigh Bardugo’s “Siege and Storm”
(May Contain Spoilers)
Bardugo’s greatest accomplishment as a writer is her world-building skills. There are so many tiny details about the Grishaverse that make it wholeheartedly believable and interesting. While Ravka is influenced by Imperial Russia, Fjerda appears to be influenced by the Norse, while Shu Han appears to have Asian influence. I suspect the Wandering Isle may be inspired by Ireland but I could be wrong. Regardless, as one would expect all these nations have diverse cultures and ways in which they deal with their Grisha, looking forward to learning more about each of them.
2. Grisha Magic
Another testament to Bardugo’s wonderful imagination is the lore, especially surrounding the Grisha and their magic. The idea that it is not necessarily “magic” but manipulation of natural elements and that there is a balance that must be maintained creates a unique spin on the concept.
The amplifiers are a neat idea; the “rule” that a Grisha may only have one and that some Grisha are actual amplifiers makes things much more interesting. And then of course, there are Morozova’s amplifiers that are legendary beings, which are totally awesome and beautiful. I just wish they didn’t have to kill them, like why would you kill a legendary, mythical being, its just wrong!
Sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov is a fantastic character and quite possibly my favorite. While handsome, he is incredibly intelligent, kind, cunning, and most importantly hilarious. Regardless of all the darkness, challenges, and heartache happening, Nikolai keeps his humor and positive outlook. He is the much needed comic relief!
The hero of our story, Mal is another beloved character of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. He is steadfast, loyal, good looking and all around good guy. While it is heartbreaking to watch his self-destructive behavior, it really shows how much Alina means to him and how much he will put himself through to do the right thing.
While not the most fascinating female protagonist, there is an element of darkness in Alina that makes her alluring. Her desire for more power makes her more relatable and human and really adds to her character development.
The connection between Alina and the Darkling is very intriguing and makes sense. They are connected through their unique powers, their drive for more power, and wanting to “save” Ravka from itself. Just as Alina learns that there is some goodness in the Darkling, there is some darkness in herself. There is no light without darkness and vice versa. It’s all about balance.
“Siege and Storm” was an emotional rollercoaster for me. Bardugo can seriously pull on some heartstrings. Being the romantic, the only thing I want is for Mal and Alina to have a happily ever after and I’m getting a sick feeling that I may not get what I want.
Thankfully this is not the end for Alina and Mal, the Grishaverse continues in Book 3 of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, “Ruin and Rising”