Sunday, June 23, 2013
Hope and Helplessness: Siege and Storm
Henry Holt, 2013
*ARC won in a giveaway hosted by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide - thank you!*
Since this post is about a sequel, some spoilers are inevitable. I'll try to keep them to a minimum, but you have been warned.
Brace yourself for a fantasy that's certainly not afraid of delving into the dark side. In Siege and Storm, the second installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy, readers are plunged back into a world battling power, greed, and the Darkness itself.
Alina and Mal make a run for it and try to escape her life with the Grisha and role as the Sun Summoner, but their freedom is short lived. Before long, they're both back in the world of the Darkling and the next step of his plan: obtaining a second amplifier for Alina to make her powers even greater so he may continue to exploit them. Alina finds herself more torn than ever before - power and the Darkling call to her as like calls to like, but there's also the kind of person she wants to be and the love of Mal, the one person who wanted her just the way she was. Enter a privateer with plenty of secrets, an ancient legend of an impossible saint, and a royal family with a small war going on among themselves and you have a sequel that hits the ground running and never stops.
While I absolutely had to inhale the first book in this series Shadow and Bone, with this sequel I took my time. By doing so, I was able to see things differently and could actually pause to contemplate and consider the choices made in this story. The setting continues to be enchanting and specific - world building is one of Bardugo's strengths. She also provides a cast of characters in which the secondary players are all as distinct as the protagonists. And if you want action, you're in luck. Plenty of battles, mysteries, fights, and questions come page after page keeping readers on their toes.
Another thing that this book does quite well is proving that a character does not have to be likable to be the lead. Don't get me wrong, I like Alina. I envy her strength and her strive to do more, her willingness to sacrifice herself in more ways than one if it means a chance at saving Ravka. But there were also plenty of times where I wanted to slap her, to plead with her to reconsider because she was making a huge mistake, sometimes blinded by her desire for power, other times by love. In this way, Alina is incredibly complex and realistic - it's why I'm hardly surprised at the success of this series or why so many people connect to it. Mal continues to be the boy who has claimed my heart, mostly again because he is far from perfect, but I also was completely charmed by Sturmhond, the privateer with an agenda of his own who is much smarter than anyone gives him credit for. I truly hope to see more of him in book 3.
All in all, this was a fantastic followup to a tremendous book (which was a debut novel at that - that fact still blows me away). If you're looking for fantasy, then look no further.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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