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Alternative Cover Edition #1

Darkness never dies.

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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.

435 pages, Hardcover

First published June 4, 2013

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About the author

Leigh Bardugo

70 books142k followers
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology—and much more. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Los Angeles and is an associate fellow of Pauli Murray College at Yale University. For information on new releases and appearances, sign up for her newsletter.

She would be delighted if you visited her at LeighBardugo.com and fairly giddy if you liked her selfies on Instagram.

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5 stars
131,861 (25%)
4 stars
208,895 (40%)
3 stars
136,489 (26%)
2 stars
29,774 (5%)
1 star
5,599 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49,575 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,079 reviews17.2k followers
September 24, 2020
how can this book have been so much better than book one, or book three, and yet still... not good?
“You just punched a prince, Alina. I guess we can add one more act of treason to our list.”
I shook out my sore hand. My knuckles smarted. “First of all, are we so sure he really is a prince? And second, you’re just jealous.”
“Of course I’m jealous. I thought I was going to get to punch him. That isn’t the point.”

2 1/2 stars, again. Again, very mixed feelings, so I’m going to start by talking about why this book is BETTER!

First of all, way better plot! Bigger scope! Higher stakes! More interesting buildup! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN EVER! I know nothing really happens, but it manages to be so high tension anyway. Not to be all writer-y, but you can totally tell that Bardugo knows what she’s doing with dramatic tension now. She has that shit far more in control. And also there’s political intrigue with Nikolai and Vasili! Except this is the non-boring kind of political intrigue. I support this political intrigue and not the bad excuse for political intrigue the first book offers.

Second of all, char-ac-ter-de-vel-op-ment. I suddenly like Alina! I suddenly really like Alina, who is exploring her dark side. Wish the narrative would let this series get as dark as it deserves to be and will discuss that down below!!

As a last note, I know everyone says this, but I love Nikolai. I think my mother might actually be in love with Nikolai. This might have something to do with him being the only non-shitty guy in this whole love triangular pyramid.
Mal crossed his arms and considered the privateer. "I can't decide if you're crazy or stupid."
"I have so many good qualities," Nikolai said. "It can be hard to choose.”


The thing is, this book is a huge improvement over book one, but it’s still not really all that good?

I will admit, on a small note, I thought the beginning of this book was kind of shitty. A thing happens in the first, like, four pages that negates everything that happened in the prologue or at the very end of the last book. Entire plot points could have been skipped. Why.


→ the love pyramid ←
All of you failed basic geometry, because this is not a love square, it is a love triangular pyramid. In which one of the ends is rotted, one is also maybe banging a different point of a different triangular pyramid, and one has zero chemistry with the point of the triangular pyramid but is so awesome that he’s the best option by default.

Yeah, I don't like this triangle very much. Shocker. Mostly because the Darkling is a burnt chicken nugget and I hate him, and I might actually find his villain-y character really intriguing, but the fact that he is discussed as a viable love interest on this website is creepy.

But the issue isn't even really with the love triangle! It's with the fact that the love triangle is there to build into love drama that takes away from the seriousness of the plot. So let's discuss the real trouble here:

→ all the petty drama ←
We Need To Talk About Mal. Who is suddenly an asshole and I understand why everyone likes Nikolai better. But... okay. I actually think his motivations make a lot of sense? Yeah, he's being a dick, but he's not being an abuser (as much of the discourse on book twitter has previously seemed to imply). More than anything, I'm simply bored by him.
"'Not my type, but handsome.'
My brows shot up. In my experience, Mal was just about everyone's type."

There’s this moment where Tamar says Mal “isn’t her type” and Alina is literally like “but Mal is EVERYONE’S type” and although A) I call bullshit on that, I also think it's absolutely hilarious that B) the line is meant to indicate Tamar is a lesbian. [Okay, yeah, I actually knew that going in.]

→ the real problem ←
But the problem isn't even really with Mal. Or really with Alina. The problem is the narrative of this book just will not let this series get as dark as it deserves to be. This series is one about awful characters doing awful things in which the lead is basically slowly losing her humanity and the villain is maybe possibly doing it for the right reasons and the love interest is insecure and the princes are shitty and really, no one is doing the right thing, and certainly not for the right reasons. But it refuses to let itself be this. I keep feeling Bardugo come thiiis close to inner darkness and antihero power and then shying away.

I respect that the YA market a few years ago was very different, that we ate up that Zoya-makes-Alina-jealous plotline and weren't so invested in Alina's glorious antiherodom. But I really think this series is wasted potential personified.

Yeah. Those are my thoughts. I am not a fan. I'm really disappointed in how much I am not a fan.

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Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.7k followers
October 8, 2016
Yup, I'm still insanely in love with the Darkling. I'm going to burn in Hell. Or rule the world with him as his Queen of Darkness, whatever comes first.


“I know the truth in your heart. The loneliness. The growing knowledge of your own difference. The ache of it.”

Alina tried to deny it, the connection and the similarities with him, but she could't hide from the truth. Her purpose seemed clear; rebuild the Second Army, defeat the Darkling, destroy the Fold, free Ravka, find the third amplifier, don't burn everyone in the process and keep Mal close. It wasn't simple though. She could feel the hunger for power growing inside her. With an ambitious prince by her side, she tried to fight the evil that was haunting Ravka and her guilt for helping this darkness unleash. Some people worshipped her as a Saint, some hated her because they were afraid of her powers and some wanted her to run away from this new life and become the person she was before she had the potential to destroy the world .Well, not some people, just Mal.
“There is no ordinary life for people like you and me.”

I really enjoyed Siege and Storm (not as much as Shadow and Bone but still it was great),a nd even my dislike of Mal can't take that away. You may ask why I don't like the handsome tracker who is willing to give his life for Alina, who bleeds when you cut her and tries to protect her at any cost. Because he loves only certain parts of her, excluding her being a Grisha and the role she has to play in the game of politics and eventually the struggle between light and darkness. He loves the girl who grew up with him, who followed him blindly and was always in the backround. The girl he took for granted. But she isn't the same person anymore, and the Darkling is the one to blame. The ruthless, murderous, manipulative Darkling. Deep, deep inside, I hope he will redeem himself, that there is still something good worth saving despite the awful things he has done, his twisted ways and his greed.

But Darkling isn't the only one antagonizing Mal. Have you met Nikolai?
The witty, sarcastic, calculative pirate (or privateer) with a claim to the throne who has a kind heart even though he rarely reveals it?
"I can’t decide if you’re crazy or stupid."
"I have so many good qualities. It can be hard to choose."



Well after babbling about the men I want to marry (that's right, men, I'm polygamic when it comes to book boyfriends) I have to talk about the rest of Siege and Storm !It was captivating (again, not as much as the first book but I can't give it less stars, it's physically impossible!), it sucked you in the world of the Grisha and held you with a strong grip. Leigh Bardugo's writing is stunning, the world-building incredible, the tension in the scenes palpable and the evolution of Alina's character well-presented. Definitely a great sequel to a great series!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
June 9, 2013

This rating might come as a surprise after I was so excited to get reacquainted with the Darkling in my early status update. However, if it hadn't been for the scenes with the Darkling, this book would have probably only received one star - it's only his characterisation, his different layers and, let's face it, his sexiness that convinced me to rate this at two stars. Maybe I could stretch to 2.5 if I close my eyes and picture the Darkling like this:



I usually approach the sequels to three star reads with some trepidation but I confess that my hopes were high for this one. Despite the flaws present throughout Shadow and Bone, I found it wildly entertaining in parts and a very easy page-turner. I had also hoped that Alina would mature and grow once she harnessed her power and realised that some things are more important than beauty and looks - this realisation never came. In fact, I believe the relationship between beauty and power to be even more apparent in this sequel and I struggle to sympathise with a girl who discovers she is incredibly powerful but still can't see her worth beyond her plain appearance.

This I just mentioned is nothing new and was a problem for me in the first installment which has unfortunately carried over into the second. However, the main difference between the two that overrides everything else and is way bigger than my problems with the beauty issue - which I may have otherwise been able to look past - is that I found this second book incredibly boring. Or I did at least after the first quarter where the Darkling disappears for a huge chunk of the book (honestly, he is the only interesting thing about this series). Gone was the fun I had while reading book one, gone was the exciting mystery and sexual tension. This book introduced several new characters who I never came to care about, whilst also bringing Alina Shallowkova and whiny Mal back into the spotlight.

Mal is a dull character. He is whiny, uninteresting and I can see no reason why anyone would think the sun shines out of his backside... yes, even Alina. Though, saying that, he is radiantly gorgeous and I suppose Alina doesn't need any more of a reason to put someone on a pedestal. I was so bored by their relationship that I couldn't even summon the energy for my standard eyeroll reserved for fictional couples that are annoying. I'm not even sure what Mal does for most of this book aside from standing by and being jealous of every man that Alina talks to.

I admit that I was far less engaged for the second half of the book, so if someone would like to come and tell me that something awesome happened while I was away floating on a cloud of not caring, that really wouldn't surprise me. Most of it was read without interest, some bits were even skimmed. I think it's fair to say that I won't be returning for the next book. Such a shame because I was genuinely very excited for Siege and Storm.
Profile Image for Kiki.
188 reviews8,447 followers
March 5, 2021
The Good:
1. Alina going full Shane*
2. Nikolai
3. Nikolai's face
4. Nikolai's clothes
5. Everything Nikolai said
6. Everything Nikolai did
7. The last 10%, in which some stuff actually happened

The Bad:
1. Mal
2. Mal, cause I seriously hate him
3. Alina's vague, confusing magical powers (she has...the power of light? And the Darkling has...the power of darkness? Except darkness is the absence of light so essentially they have exactly the same powers? And I suppose you could say "the Darkling creates darkness" but what would happen if he used his power to remove the darkness he had just created? Would that not...create light?)
4: MAL

The Ugly:
1. How fixated I am with this series and how invested I am in it despite lukewarm pacing and plotting and holes in the world building that are so big you could wheel a giant wooden horse filled with Greek warriors through them

*yep, I'm old, I'm bold, get used to it
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
457 reviews162k followers
August 28, 2015
This was loads better than the first book. I loved the new characters that were introduced & I'm digging the direction the plot is going in. I'm interested to see what happens in the final book in this trilogy!
Profile Image for Lark.
96 reviews156 followers
February 14, 2019
Nikolai, honey, your back must be so sore from carrying that entire book.
Profile Image for Nash (all too unwell).
314 reviews813 followers
September 14, 2021

NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI
NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI NIKOLAI


DAARKILING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING
DAARKILING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING
DAARKILING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING
DAARKILING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING
DAARKILING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING DARKLING




The holy chant
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
514 reviews34.4k followers
May 9, 2021
”You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?” I asked as I closed the book’s cover and headed for the door. “They always end up dead.”

Do you know the song “One to Make Her Happy” from Marque? No? That’s unfortunate, because while I read this book I had a horrible earworm and couldn’t get it out of my head. I was basically humming it the entire time and decided to change the name from Daisy to Alina. I’m sure by now you’re curious about the lyrics and I’m happy to oblige:

“One to make her happy (Mal)
One to make her sad (The Darkling)
One to give her good love
That she never had (Nikolai)
Daisy Alina and her boyfriends
Livin’ in a house
Sharing just a good life.
That was four years ago.
Now Daisy Alina blew the whole show.”


Very suitable, right? *lol* I swear to read “Siege and Storm” really felt like Alina and I had 3 different boyfriends because seriously, who’s able to choose between all those awesome boys? I just love them all for different reasons and if forced to make a decision I’m afraid I couldn’t even choose for the life of me. XD They are all great and they all have their pros and cons. ;-P Still, it would be a lie if I’d claim that Nikolai didn’t make me swoon. Such an awesome man! *sighs deeply* Then again The Darkling is still hot and Mal is still sweet so … URGH!!! See what I’m talking about? *lol*

Guess Alina and I will have to be Daisy for a little while longer. ;-) Hopefully book three will make it easier to choose. XD Still, the ending of “Siege and Storm” was heavy and I really don’t know what Leigh is going to come up with in the last book. I bet she has a lot in store for us and truth be told, I’m not entirely sure if I’m ready. Haha!

Seems like I’ll just have to dive into it and find out though! ;-)

The characters:

I’m afraid there will be lots of spoilers in here because the fate of some of the characters really made me go all: WOW!! NO!! ARGH!! WHY?! So consider yourself warned! This is the cupboard door to my spoiler section and if you don’t want to be spoiled you better don’t enter my personal Narnia. ;-P

Alina:

”I don’t care if you think I’m a Saint or a fool or the Darklings’s whore. If you want to remain at the Little Palace, you will follow me. And if you don’t like it, you will be gone by tonight, or I will have you in chains. I am a soldier. I am the Sun Summoner. And I’m the only chance you have.”

I think I liked Alina more in this one! She was no longer the naïve heroine and finally started to show her claws. *lol* Hard to say if this was due to the influence of Nikolai or because of what happened with the Darkling, no matter the reason I’m still glad she decided to take the reins and did what needed to be done. Some might argue that she’s too young for all this but considering how long the Darkling was able to fool everyone around him I think it’s safe to say that Alina really might be their best bet. XD The ending however was quite heavy! I mean poor girl! If she’s already so weak and broken how is the Darkling going to fare? I really don’t know in which direction book 3 will go and because this rarely happens I’m more than just intrigued. ;-) I hope Alina won’t die, I really do.

The Darkling:

The faint tracery of scars on his face was barely visible, like the ghost of a map. One ran perilously close to his right eye. He’d almost lost it. He cupped my cheek with his hand, and when he spoke, his voice was almost tender. “They’re just the beginning,” he whispered.

WOAH!! Well, the Darkling was quite a surprise in this one. I always knew that he’s ruthless and prone to cruelty; I didn’t expect him to go all DARK though. *lol* I think it might have to do with what happened at the Fold and I’m pretty sure that he lost the grip on his own darkness. It’s just a theory but in the first book it was him who controlled the darkness and guided it to do his bidding and I think that this changed drastically. Now it seems more like the darkness got a hold of him and is consuming him in order to achieve its goals. Would explain why he’s so drained by the nichevo’ya he creates. Still, I can’t really hate him for what he’s done because he’s just a too good villain and I always appreciate a good villain when I see one. *lol* Hmm… maybe he can still be saved?

Mal:

”Easy, now. Mustn’t get blood on the uniform. Let me explain – “
“Try explaining with my first in your mouth.”


Haha! Mal! I can’t help but like that boy! His honesty is so refreshing and the fact he never bothers to filter his thoughts is very entertaining. *lol* Even after finishing the second book I still don’t get why so many people seem to hate him. He’s a nice and decent guy and I think everything he said and did was justified. Yes, he didn’t have to drink himself senseless and gamble in the bars but it was his only way to deal with his situation and you can’t really blame him for it. At least I don’t. Life is tough, we all have our vices and try our best to deal with the cards that we’re given. It’s obvious that he loves Alina more than anything and it’s also rather plain that this love started to destroy and poison him. Plus Alina really wasn’t the most understanding person. So yes, I still like Mal and I’m not sorry about it!!! <3

”And there’s no way I’m leaving you alone with Prince Perfect.”
“So you don’t trust me to resist his charms?”
“I don’t even trust myself.”


Nikolai:

I blew out a frustrated breath. “Do you ever answer a question directly?”
“Hard to say. Ah, there, I’ve done it again.”


OH BOY!!! Nikolai is so awesome!! I can’t even!! <333 Yes, I’m having a crazy fangirl moment here but seriously, what’s not to love?! This guy is amazing and I just love everything about him. His attitude, his cunning plans, his many different faces, his compassion and passion. Well, basically everything that comes out of his mouth. *lol* Leigh truly outdid herself when she created this wonderful man and I’ll be forever thankful that she wrote him down on paper! <3 I love that he has principles and rules he lives by and if things would have gone my way Vasily wouldn’t even have gotten close to the throne. It’s obvious that Nikolai is the best choice and I really hope that there’ll be something left of Ravka once he’s able to rule! Still, right now I don’t know what happened to him and this is such a mean move! *lol* Leigh what happened to Nikolai?!!! Guess I’ll have to read the last book soon! XD

”Now that’s a word best not used around me. I tend to be overfond of risk.”

”You never improvise,” I said. “Everything you do is calculated. You change personalities the way other people change hats. And you know what? It’s creepy. Aren’t you ever just yourself?”
“I’m a prince, Alina. I can’t afford to be myself.”


”When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”

Genya:

”She and David stay behind the group. She can’t move very quickly.” He paused. “The pilgrims call her “Razrusha’ya.”
The Ruined.”


My poor, poor girl! T_T I can’t believe that the Darkling did this to her!!! She didn’t deserve this! Just because she helped Alina to flee? It’s not fair and I would have expected better from the Darkling! I mean I know he’s the villain but Genya was so loyal to him and that’s how he thanks her? My poor Genya! I just want to hug her and tell her that everything will get better and that she’s still the most beautiful woman of Ravka! <333 I really hope David will do all those things because if not I’m going to kick him in his skinny behind. *lol*

The ships:

Alina & The Darkling:

”He can’t wait to get away from you,” I said, hovering by the door. “He’s afraid of what you’ve become. They all are.”
“Do you fear me, Alina?”
“That’s what you want, isn’t it?”
The Darkling shrugged. “Fear is a powerful ally,” he said. “And loyal.”


The moments between those two were rather short in this book and I really would have loved to see more of them together. They had such a nice chemistry in “Shadow and Bone” and despite everything Alina still seems to be drawn to him. Well, the Darkling certainly has an irresistible allure. Can’t blame her for it. ;-P Still, I hope I’ll get more of them in the last book because they are just too intriguing together. XD

Alina & Mal:

”You wanted to wear the second amplifier. You have it. You want to go to Os Alta? Fine, we’ll go. You say you need the firebird. I’ll find a way to get it for you. But when all this is over, Alina, I wonder if you’ll still want me.”

Aww those two killed me! It’s like they just can’t be together because the entire world and their own fate is against them. Alina can’t hand over her responsibility because she’s the only sun summoner and basically the only person who’s able to stop the Darkling and Mal can’t be at her side because he’d be like Icarus getting too close to the sun. T_T He doesn’t understand her powers and the need to use them and even though he doesn’t get it he still decided to be with her. Right now I really see no way how their relationship could be able to work out. I mean it’s not like Alina will stop being Grisha and Mal can’t stop being a tracker as well. *sighs* It’s such a muddled situation….

”Why didn’t you say something?”
“What could I say? And when? I barely see you anymore.”
“I thought you wanted to go.”
“I wanted you to ask me to stay.”


Alina & Nikolai:

”What’s a pirate doing on a whaler?” I asked.
“Privateer,” he corrected. “I have several ships. The Darkling wanted a whaler, so I got him one.”
“You mean you stole it.”
“Acquired it.”
“You were in my cabin.”
“Many women dream of me,” he said lightly as he steered me down the deck.


Now those two!! *LOL* I lived for their conversations!! I swear Nikolai is so, so damn awesome! Did I already tell you how much I love this man?! I’m sure I did! Haha! Well, the chemistry between Alina and Nikolai was amazing as well and I can’t say how much I loved it that she wasn’t swooning and drooling all over him like everyone else! XD She saw him as a normal person and that’s what made their scenes so perfect. =) I think my favourite moment was the encounter at the lake and the fact that Nikolai turned her down, because he knew she’d only use him as a make-do. I love this man, I really, really do! <333 For some reason I doubt that Alina will end up with him though.

”The Darkling will hunt you for the rest of your days.”
“Then you and I will have something in common, won’t we? Besides, I like to have powerful enemies. Makes me feel important.”
Mal crossed his arms and considered the privateer. “I can’t decide if you’re crazy or stupid.”
“I have so many good qualities,” Sturmhond said. “It can be hard to choose.”


”And what are you doing to be useful, your highness?”
“I’m a prince,” said Nikolai. “Being useful isn’t part of my job description. But,” he added, “when I’m not lazing about being handsome, I’ll be trying to better equip the First Army and gather intelligence on the Darkling’s location.”


”I want to kiss you,” Nikolai said. “But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him.”

Conclusion:

Once again I was hooked until the very end and once again I couldn’t help it and already started with the next book even though I didn’t even write my review for this one. I guess it’s safe to say that this series is really enjoyable and entertaining, especially now that Nikolai entered the scene!! ;-P
I can’t wait to read more about him and I want to see so much more of all of Daisy’s Alina’s other boyfriends love interests as well. *lol*

So all I can say is: Happy Reading! I hope you’ll love “Siege and Storm” as much as I did! ;-)
Profile Image for She-who-must-not-be-named .
179 reviews1,140 followers
May 7, 2021
The Darkling and Nikolai's existence was the only thing that gave me willpower to get through this book. Mal annoyed the shit out of me and I thought Alina knew better :/
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.4k followers
January 30, 2018
I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first book, and I think it's partly because of my dislike for Mal, and partly because I found the moments between the high action points to be too slow/dull for my taste.

My favourite thing about this book was some of the new characters we meet, especially Sturmhond! I was also a little sad we didn't see quite as much of the Darkling, he is such an interesting character.
Profile Image for The Burning Rose (Jess).
161 reviews307 followers
May 13, 2020
5/5 stars.
This book was a thousand times better than the first.
The characters have improved, the plot has improved. It was thrilling, interesting, intriguing, it gave me the feeling that I couldn't put the book out of my hands. Anything that Lehigh Bardugo put into the plot in this book certainly helped the story. It's as if she saved herself with this plot.

The first addition I would like to point out is the pirates. I'm not sure what about you, but in my opinion, when pirates are involved, it's much more interesting. Although this is a bit of a risky matter, because a plot with pirates is very critical- either it's super excellent or it's bad. In this matter, the pirates saved Bardugo. Mostly Sturmhond, which I will mention later.

Let's talk about the darkling.
This fellow is invincible, how lovely, I'm all for it.
If you know me, you know how much I admire this character. Frankly, I think he’s the most intriguing character in this series. If it weren't for the darkling, these books wouldn't have been interesting.

In my review of the first book, I mentioned that Alina is a good character but not interesting enough. In this book her character is fantastic. Everything Alina has experienced made her to be a good character. And the biggest credit goes to the Darkling. Yes, him again. Applaud him, people, he deserves it. There’s nothing like a villain who deserves to be a villain.

Now, as I promised, there’s another character that I think has made this plot fascinating, and his nickname is Sturmhond, whose real name we discover in the middle of the book. This is a special, volatile character, totally intriguing. I found myself wishing to read more about him, to know him better. It’s so easy to love him, and it’s remarkable and commendable.

I'm not sure if I want to put Mal into this review, just as I wish he wasn't in the book. I know it sounds cruel, but I don't like him. And most importantly, I don't like his influence on Alina, unlike the other characters, who surround Alina and affect her (whether it's for the worse or for the better), it feels to me that Mal just lowers her even further to the bottom. On the other hand, I do know that if it wasn't for him, the plot would have been completely different, I don't know if for the better or not, and he did help Alina and was there for her. Maybe I just hope his character and influence were a little different.
In the first book he was like a distant figure, found mainly in Alina's thoughts. But he's an important character in this book, and I really wished he wasn't. Half of the book Alina worried and thought about Mal, which is tiring.

In addition, I would like to commend Leigh Bardugo for her writing. She writes excellently, her style is incredible and that makes her books more interesting. There’s a feeling in the background of a fog that makes everything invisible except what is on your hands.
I really liked the attention she gave Alina in this book. Like I said, Alina's character has improved. In this book, Alina realized that she and the darkling are equally unique and probably also just as powerful. Alina finally believes in her ability and ready to fight the Darkling , she even stole his spot, lol. I was so proud of her.
And I was proud of the darkling too. He survives, brave, charismatic, and oh my, how much I die for his sensitivity to Alina. I don't usually do that, but this time I definitely wish they were together. They are so matched, and he’s so right that no one can understand her the way he understands her.

I know there are other characters in the book that are worth talking about, but I decided not to overdo my reviews because they are always overly long, so I'll end the review here, thank you for reading.

P.S. Oh my God! My sweet Jenna?!?!?!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
February 13, 2018
5 stars!

I really loved Siege & Storm! I had not delved into the Grishaverse Trilogy since reading book one in 2015, and I am saddened that it took me so long to go back to this amazing world!

I definitely struggled with the beginning of this book, but I feel it is a reflection of myself instead of the quality of the book. I’ve realized that jumping into sequels of books I haven’t read in years via audiobook is a habit I should break as I don’t retain much from the beginning on the story, but nonetheless once I finally got engaged, I was HOOKED.

I love these characters and the way they develop in the second installment. I love this world. I love the magic system. I love the plot. I love everything about this book and I am immediately going to dive into book three to avoid what happened at the beginning of this novel. XD

I apologize that this isn’t the most in-depth review – The Grisha Trilogy is one where I just can’t do anything but gush about it!
Profile Image for Maria.
65 reviews8,372 followers
March 23, 2019
4.2/5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”


OH YES BABY. THAT'S THE SHIT I LIKE TO SEE.And this how a very thorough and serious review begins, everybody! Take a seat and enjoy after this mini break for the plot summary!

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.


This book has left me in want for the next one. WHAT AN ENDING MAN. This book was exhilarating, intriguing, action packed, character driven, addicting e.t.c. It held so much more depth than its predecessor, it was basically the better version of the first book. The world was more fascinating, the politics more immersive and the characters more developed.

Alina
Her character certainly grew in this book. From this weak frail insecure girl who envied everyone around her, couldn't fit in and didn't know how to manipulate her power she became a strong woman who could lead and harness her power to protect her country. Her inner battle with the darkness she was feeling creeping in was very interesting to read about and it made her character much more than this one dimentional girl she was in book one. Don't get me wrong, she was still unlikable to me and not compelling enough to be the lead of the book, but she gained much more appreciation in my eyes after this book. I'm looking forward to see what more her character has to give.

Mal
Ugh! Where to begin. I DON'T FUCKING LIKE HIM AT ALL. I can't stand his fucking personality. This dude bothers me so much, I can't even fathom it. What does Alina see in him? He's so boring, predictable, demanding, insecure and selfish. He was unbearable in this book. I didn't mind his character at all in the first book, I just didn't have any interest in him. It's like he didn't exist. But in this book, he annoyed me to death. I (regrettably) know Alina is gonna end up with him, and I'm so disappointed. She should have ended up with the next KICK ASS character I'm gonna talk about.

FUCKING NIKOLAI LANTSOV
Here I am introducing you, MY CURRENT BOYFRIEND. I love him, I love him so much I want to cry. THANK YOU Leigh Bardugo FOR THIS GEM OF A CHARACTER. Look, this series doesn't really rely on characters. it relies on the beautiful world, the politics and the magic. But it's ok, you know, not every book is about characters. But this character came in and changed the game. HE'S SO 3D. He's funny, witty, interesting, compassionate, determined, a true fighter who do anything for his country and who never backs down even though he's been through lots of shit. I feel this series finally introduced us to a full on three dimentional character and I'm so happy. I wasn't expecting the twist that Sturmhond was Nikolai, I was pleasantly surprised. I knew the existence of this character long before, mostly because of Six of Crows and the new duology that is about him (I've already purchased the book, even though I haven't even finished the Grisha Trilogy BUT WHO GIVES A FUCK) but I thought we wouldn't see him in this trilogy. How happy I am to have been wrong.

The romance
Nah. The romance in this book is the least thing I cared about. It was much more impactful in the first book, but in this one it was totally stale. Something was about to happen when Nikolai came in the picture... but we all know he ain't got no chance. WHY ALINA. WHY. At this point, I don't really care who she ends up with, her with Mal don't tickle my pickle, her and the Darkling is hot but wrong, and her and Nikolai just won't happen. After all, this book isn't centered around characters and their relationships and shit. So, idgaf!

The plot
I truly enjoyed the fact that this book was much more fast paced than the previous one... it had more content to provide its readers. The first 100 and the last 100 pages were it for me, whereas the middle chunk of the book was more about planning and scheming the end battle. The first part of the book, which was at sea was certainly my fav... everything that happens at sea is my thing. I loved the magic system again, I loved the gorgeous and fulfilling world and I loved the angsty politics. I hope the next one will provide me the same gratification and even more

All in all, I enjoyed this book much more than the first one, and I'm going into the third and final book fully prepared. It was a fast paced and fantastic read which introduced me to my next bae, and kept hooked to it every single minute. I'm anxious for the ending to be honest, and I'm also anxious for the next series. Well then, till the final book in this series, K BYE!
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
275 reviews455 followers
April 29, 2021
"Sulking gives you wrinkles."
"Perfect night for tearing a hole in the universe, no?"

Plot thickens... Making a long review of this one would be redundant, because the world building, style of writing, and the enjoyable nature of the main plot remain almost the same - and that's a good thing. So I'll just stick to the changes and plot highlights.

"I can't decide if you're crazy or stupid."

Siege and Storm picks up from the precise point where Shadow and Bone left things off, and the story takes a new turn of events as the author introduces a new major twist in the beginning chapters. We're sharing the same area as the original story (during majority of the book) but, three great new characters are added to make things interesting. Also, the lack of complexity I felt with Shadow and Bone isn't noticeable anymore.

"The less you say, the more weight our words will carry."
"Don't argue. Never deign to deny. Meet insults with laughter."

With the dramatic change Alina's journey being forced into, first part of the story was very hectic and full of twists. But what followed after, until the last few chapters, wasn't particularly thrilling for me, or eventful. Don't get be wrong, for, I've come to the conclusion that it is impossible for Bardugo to make anything boring. But I did felt the middle part of the book to be a bit slow-moving, and a little predictable. May be that was just me not being able to enjoy the politics. Luckily, the 'mind-blowingness' returned with a band during the last couple of chapters.

"Oh, and the easiest way to make someone furious is to tell her to calm down."
"Promise not to kick me again, and I'll promise not to kiss you again,"

Speaking of the ending, it was as dramatic as it could get. It didn't gave a very fulfilling feeling, but that was probably a good thing as it'll give an unpredictable start to the final book. I'm rounding off what felt like a 3.5-star rating to 4-stars. It's time for Ruin & Rising!

"We do the best we can."
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
September 11, 2015
I always go into a second book in a series with fears that it will have the dreaded "Second Book Syndrome". I worry that the characters will regress, the plot will stall and surmount to overall ridiculousness, and in the end, become boring and lathered in disappointment. So even though The Grisha series is a new favorite for me, I still had these concerns. You cannot even imagine my glee when I discovered Siege and Storm did NOT suffer from any of these things. On the contrary, it was even better than its predecessor. If you loved Shadow and Bone, be prepared to be blown away!

There are so many things I want mention and squeal about in this review, but OH THE SPOILERS. And anyway, Kat did such a great job with reviewing in code already. So I've decided to just write letters.

 

Dear Darkling,

You're so evil, but I can't seem to conjure up any feelings of dislike for you. In fact, I missed you in Siege and Storm. For most of the novel, you were gone from me, only appearing in Alina's dreams. How fair is that? Don't you know how much I need your evil goodness to be present at all times? Seeing you torture the poor peasants of the Grisha world, warms my heart.

And, oh, Darkling, what new skills you have. Wait, does that sound dirty? Because it totally isn't. Then again, you did tell us all to, "Make me your villain." It's only fair if I, too, am allowed at least one inappropriate pun. But seriously, you've leveled up faster than a Super Saiyan in Siege and Storm. Kat says you learned to line dance, but I think it's more along the line of baking cookies. You showed those cookies who was boss!

But your ending concerns me. I guess the cookie batter turned out to be much more difficult that you expected. Maybe you should take a page from Paula Deen and add more evil butter. I'm not sure this has anything to do with book 3, Ruin and Rising, but I just like cookies, okay? And you. I like you too. So be sure to be extra evil next time and give those cookies a run for their money.

Love,

Steph

--------------------

Dearest Mal,

Please do us all a favor and stop being so insecure over your relationship with Alina. The girl's got a lot on her plate. She has the responsibility of saving all of Ravka, which is kinda a tad more important than you. I need for you to be more understanding and supportive. I liked you in Shadow and Bone, but I'm starting to think I'm outgrowing my mildly inappropriate swooning of you. Just yesterday, I found myself wondering if Leigh might actually kill you off in Ruin and Rising. If that happens, it's possible I might only mourn you for half a page. No, no, no! I take it back! Don't you dare die on me, Mal-Mal!

True love is tough love,

Steph

P.S. I still love you, Mal. <3

--------------------

Sturmhond,

I think I speak for everyone when I say, please become a real person.

xoxo,

Steph

========

And finally:

Dear Leigh,

Amazing.

You are evil. Evil, evil, evil. So evil, your stories leave me speechless. Your humor sends me into fits of giggles and tickles my tender pieces. Your plots make me wish I can pack my bags and vacate to your mind if only for a day. Please don't ever stop being this awesome evil. And because Troy gifs have become our thing:

 photo troy_zpse5607e29.gif


Also, that ending is causing me to hit the Kvas pretty hard tonight. Look what you've done to me.

 photo kvas_zpsa3b783e0.gif


Mal, Darkling, Sturmhond... I must collect them all.


Hiccup,

Steph

 

An ARC was received for a review from the publisher. No monies or favors were exchanged for a positive review. Thanks, Macmillan! 

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
758 reviews2,357 followers
April 22, 2017
This book was such a massive disappointment, considering I actually really enjoyed the first book. Half of the time reading this book was me pissed-fucking-off and filled with all bullshit in the world I can't fucking even. Also, there are going to be spoilers ahead for this book. You have been warned.

Bullshit #1: Mal. Ew.

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What an annoying little mother fucker. You should probably know by now I fucking hate this guy more than anything in the world. WHY IS HE EVEN A PART OF THIS SERIES? Ugh he pisses me off to the point of tears. Like, please can you just die? It's not that hard tysm. He is so petty, I CAN'T EVEN.
"'Not my type, but handsome.'
My brows shot up. In my experience, Mal was just about everyone's type."

"They were all gawking at Mal. It was hard not to."

"He's probably so used to it, he doesn't even notice it anymore."

◇As I've probably mentioned in my review for Shadow and Bone, Mal is such a handsome little fellow and "just about everyone's type." All the girls fall for him and no one can resist his handsomeness. Like, we get it you're handsome, Alina and other girls can't resist you, his handsomeness was mentioned in the first book and now again several times here. LIKE,, I GET IT HE'S HANDSOME, NO NEED TO FUCKING REPEAT IT AGAIN IN THE SECOND BOOK. And please, I can resist his bullshitty beauty.
"I have loved you all my life, Mal," I whispered through my tears. "There is no end to our story."


*screams* NO NO NO, THIS CANNOT BE FUCKING HAPPENING. I DON'T EVEN GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE PLOT OR ANYTHING, THIS BOOK COULD HAVE GOTTEN SUCH A HIGHER MOTHER FUCKING RATING IF MAL AND ALINA NEVER HAPPENED. This pissed me off so much. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I SHIPPED THE DARKLING AND ALINA?? Imagine my fucking disappointment when I find out Alina falls in love with...with this thing. *screams some more* FUCKING MAL, I HOPE YOU GET YOUR DICK EATEN BY SHARKS.

Bullshit #2: The love square
Well, I have officially read a book where not one, not two, but three guys have a thing for the same fucking girl. Mal, The Darkling and now Nikolai.
"I want to kiss you,” Nikolai said. “But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him."

Are you fucking kidding me? Honestly at this point, I just...I just want everyone in this book except for The Darkling and Alina to live, making babies. kthx. Also, at this point, someone's grandpa is probably going to have the hots for Alina.

Bullshit #3: The Plot
Lmao, I'm sorry, you say plot? WHAT. FUCKING. PLOT??? This book is legit a fucking back and forth between Alina and the motherfucking Mal getting caught, then escaping The Darkling, getting caught, escaping The Darkling over and fucking over again. Literally stop playing these fucking cat and mouse chase games and Mal die. Alina go help out the Darkling and fuck him in his bed, WHY YOU TRYIN' TO RUN AWAY?? Literally all they did was run and escape from The Darkling whenever he caught him and it was so fucking irritating like pls stop I'm losing more and more brain cells.

I was so fucking bored reading this bullshit, it was to the point where I just wanted to rip the pages from the book and eat them.

Bullshit #4: Mal and Alina's relationship problems
Ugh, Jesus Christ, WHY YOU GOTTA TORTURE ME LIKE THIS AUTHOR??? Listen up, I do. not. give. a. single. fuck. about. Mal. and. Alina's. relationship. and. more. than. half. this. book. was. them. having. relationship. probelems,, fighting. and. confessing. their. love. Let me repeat,, I DO NOT GIVE A SINGLE FUCK ABOUT THEM. So fucking annoying I have lost the will to copy paste the quote where Alina was mad at him for kissing another girl.

There was a huge lack of The Darkling.
This is probably the biggest reason why I hated this book. The Darkling was barely mentioned and I just literally continued to read this series just for him. My daddy was barely in this fucking book, pls leave me and let me cry.

Also I don't really get the Nikolai hype,, like he's cool and all but IDC about him.

Overall, ASFBQEUFBGE2RIUGBVP;EOQGBRO[UETBGO24T[4W
I AM MAD. ANXBDKDBSKBDAGHUDYJ
Profile Image for Sofia.
294 reviews5,911 followers
August 31, 2021
Alina and Mal are even bigger idiots in this one. I didn't know that was possible, but here we are.


Somehow, Bardugo managed to squeeze every single YA trope into this book.

1. "Please don't hurt him! I'll do anything!"
2. Love dodecahedron
3. "Plain" MC with mousy brown hair *shudders*
4. Bland love interest
5. Stereotypical and predictable villain
6. Idiotic MCs
7. Comic relief

This book follows Alina and Mal, who are on the run from the Darkling. Alina has the first amplifier now, and is looking for the second. But the Darkling is on their very obvious trail, hoping to take over all of Ravka.

Ahem. If you're running from a villain, don't pay for everything with your obviously expensive and unique hair pins. And don't stay in an inn. And don't flirt with the locals.

And don't pick a buddy who will bail on you at the last second. I'm talking about Mal, of course. The whiny toddler.

All he's supposed to do is track. And yet he gets all worked up because Alina is special now, and he doesn't want her to be special because that would mean "she doesn't love me anymore." Excuse me, she's trying to lead an army. Your petty jealousy is not helping anyone.

I just asked for some character development. Apparently that's too much for Moody Mal.

"Might want to leave him alone. That type needs plenty of time for brooding and self-recrimination. Otherwise they get cranky."


That's Mal for you.

Throughout the book, he's called a "gifted tracker," but... he doesn't do any real tracking? He was supposed to be finding the sea whip, but how exactly did he do that? Even a talented tracker can't just trace an ancient, magical creature no one's ever seen through an entire sea. In a week.

Everyone loves Nikolai, but honestly, the other characters are so bad that he seems amazing in comparison. I think he's actually a pretty average character, just in comparison, he's near perfect.

I can't believe this is the same person who wrote King of Scars.


1 star
Profile Image for jessica.
2,475 reviews29.6k followers
April 13, 2020
this reread has made me realise one important thing - we, the readers, were robbed in ‘king of scars.’

nickolai lantsov, prince of ravka and my heart, grand duke of udova, sturmhond of the true sea and first of his name did not sacrifice so much for miss priss zoya to steal as much page time as she did. i cant stand her. sometimes i just wish she would summon water to drown herself. lol.

my anger aside, this series is, and still remains to be, the best ever.

5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,387 reviews77.1k followers
May 20, 2019
Enjoyed the audio of this much more than my first time reading the print version!

******************
Now listen here, I'm still on board with the series but about 70% of this book was SLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWWWW........

*super minor spoilers

While this was definitely an informative middle chapter to the trilogy, I can't help but be slightly disappointed that there just wasn't more. I found myself really excited in the final chapters with the sudden blaze of action, but couldn't help feeling like Bardugo saved all the fun stuff for the end in an attempt to make sure no one gave up on the series mid way. I needed more Darkling, I needed more Nikolai, I needed more action, but the only thing I got more of was Mal and Alina being awkward. I know it sounds like I'm pooping all over this book, and I really did enjoy it overall, it just went in a totally different direction than expected. I was really hoping to get more time with Nikolai in an attempt to broaden my shipping options but it seems I can't even do that. :( However, if you are a fan of Mal then you will really enjoy this one.

There were some nice little twists that kept me from putting this down, and the ending was really fantastic, so I'm still excited to keep moving on. But *sigh*, I just wish there had been more of ANYONE except Mal. I will say that I really enjoyed Tolya and Tamar's characters; I think they added an element that invested me into the story further. Here's to Ruin and Rising; may it be everything that this one was not and more!

********************
Buddy read with the fabulous favorite BENTLEY <3
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,794 reviews27.8k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 1, 2018
DNF @ 40%

Annnnnnd, I'm gonna wave the white flag here, peeps.

Despite having already read book one...

Despite having ALL three books physically on my shelf...

Despite those books being guarded by my beloved John Wick Funko POP...

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I must bid adieu and part with said technicolor beauties.

Because BORED.
And because life is too short and my shelves too full.

Oh well.
Onward!

description
Profile Image for Ishika .
198 reviews507 followers
January 27, 2022
Once upon a time
A girl was born without a brain
A boy was born who grew up to be a big ass pain
Seeing them together made my energy drain
A bastard was born to reign
And the villain turned out to be typically insane
What will happen when these 4 people hold the rein to the readers brain.


Ok so let's start this review by saying "NIKOLAI IS NOT A PIRATE. HE IS A PRIVATEER." From now on whoever's gonna call him a pirate will be called stupid. Thank you very much :).

I like this book.Period. I hated Alina and Mal for the entire length of the book, but I loved the plot. As a result, I finished this book in 7 days, and the ending?It was mind-blowing. To all those who liked Darkling, a.k.a. "Alina's Darling,", I feel for you all. Not in the romantic kind of way (eww no), but in a "the best villain" way.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?” I asked as I closed the book’s cover and headed for the door. “They always end up dead.”

I hate Alina. While reading, the entire time I was like how stupid a person could be?Just look at this :
"The King frowned. Probably already thinking of lunch and a nap, I thought."
And
"I still wasn’t quite awake. I wanted my breakfast, not an argument."

What's the difference between her and the king then? Like, they are literally discussing war and she wants food. great leadership qualities.  
If she was born in the real world, then she would surely be the typical high school bully. All she knew was to point out the faults in everyone's actions and speeches. She thought she was above everyone. I loved what Baghra used to call her "silly girl". 

“You know, for two people with a love eternal, you’re awfully insecure,” Nikolai said.

If anyone who saw my status updates might know what I feel about him. HE IS THE WORST MALE LEAD YOU WILL EVER SEE. He is
1. insecure about his feelings for Alina. Like he says he love her but can't trust her with someone else who made it very clear that he want to marry Alina only for political purposes. This man has never heard of trust in his life.
2. jealous of his own girlfriend. I can't even say how much I hate him for this.
This boy really needs to get his priorities straight. He wants Alina as well as his happiness which he'll get only from running away from the love of his life. #RelationshipGoals.

“I took a breath. “Your highness—”
“Nikolai,” he corrected. “But I’ve also been known to answer to ‘sweetheart’ or ‘handsome.”


I love Nikolai. His character was the best written. Everytime he spoke I wanted to hug him. I really think he should be the main character and not Mal. Actually anyone would be a better main character than Mal and Alina. For example we have Tamar. Ahh I love her. Tolya? I love him too. David? Ahh yes he is our cinnamon roll. Genya? It really hurts to read about what that fucking pedophile a.k.a. the Darkling did to her.

I really liked this book except for Mal and Alina. You know what? This book would have been much better without Mal and Alina's romance. 3.5 🌟 for this book. I really hope things get better in ruin and rising.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews602 followers
July 15, 2018
I think I might’ve been the only person who had one foot in each of the ‘Shadow and Bone is awesome’ and ‘Shadow and Bone is mediocre’ camps. Siege and Storm was supposed to be the book that made up my mind, but instead, I'm completely split... I truly do see why so many friends have raved about Leigh Bardugo's series - a part of me absolutely feels the same way - yet at the same time, another part, maybe a bigger part, has so many issues with the story I also have half a mind to angrily reject everything about this. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the odd man out with my half love half loathe view toward this sequel, but I don't think I've ever read a book that's left me so utterly frustrated between my mixed reactions.

To put it another way, I once compared Shadow and Bone to a masterfully constructed house of cards, and that's still true of Siege and Storm. It's a beautiful view, and I'd be dishonest if I said I didn't enjoy every minute of looking at it while it stood, and yet, at the same time, when I'm poking around, the whole thing falls apart, and I'd be dishonest too if I said that doesn't bother, nay, enrage me. Here's the thing, Leigh Bardugo is an excellent (some would say superficial) writer in the sense she can pull together character, setting, myth, and plot in a way that's epic, exciting, compelling, and just feels like reading a modern day folk tale, and that got to me, it really did. I'm not going to say I didn't feel what my raving friends felt, because I did - cool world building, tough heroine, epic fantasy, what's not to like?

But at the end of the day, Bardugo's talent is really making something out of nothing, because all those great qualities, if you think about it, is just that, nothing. Take for example Alina, who seems like this multifaceted character who has a complex relationship with power, but you know, she can't even answer the most basic question about her character - why is she doing any of this, taking charge, going up against the Darkling? Love of country? Nope, that's not it. Mal? Ha. The Darkling? Are you kidding me? Bardugo does a great job of fabricating this illusion of Alina as a complex and reluctant heroine, but behind the (admittedly awesome) writing, I just didn’t get a sense her character had any drive besides her relationship with Mal or whatever the plot demanded, and it seemed like to me she’s the kind of one dimensional character who can’t exist outside of being swept up by the plot.

As for the other characters, the Darkling's this well written, interesting evil character, but behind the facade is... nothing at all. Seriously, we know nothing about the Darkling or his motivations. I’m disappointed because Siege and Storm gave us zero development for his character, and all the praise seems to be directed at a blank slate who’s been the lucky beneficiary of some massive transference. And Mal (a.k.a. uninteresting designated love interest), I honestly don’t know why I tolerate him as much as I do, because his character really doesn’t exist outside of causing Alina angst, this time with well received new guy Sturmhond, who, if you think about it, is just an amalgam of every bad boy stereotype ever in one well written but blatantly cliched package (with one early confrontation scene between him and the Darkling leaving me steaming). Yet I'll admit, Bardugo has skills and she pulls all of this off, creating these seemingly complex characters that shouldn't be, but while part of me has no qualms with liking them, the other part's just irked by how superficial they are.

Then again, my view of the plot is just as equally conflicted. On one hand, the pacing, beyond a bizarre turnabout involving the Darkling's reappearance in the first chapter or two, totally worked and had me hooked the whole way through, wondering if Alina could truly beat her nemesis - it's just that riveting. On the other, the plot blatantly screams 'quest to find MacGuffin' and 'obvious rehash of the first book' with pretty much the same structure down to the same convenient nonending, and you know, I liked working my way through the story at the same time that I hated it. Like I said, it's a testament to Leigh Bardugo's skill as a writer that she can make such blatantly shallow elements work in her book, and I love that they work but hate how I can so easily recognize what she's done.

Anyway, I have a feeling everyone who loved the first book will love this too. I'm also pretty sure those who didn't will laugh this one off as well. And that leaves me in the middle with my conflicted opinions, anticipating the final book yet griping about my dissatisfaction at the same time.
Profile Image for mel ☽.
365 reviews6,520 followers
April 20, 2021
2.25 stars ✩⋆

ok i was gonna write a whole ass review but i just found out that my open book exam is actually a closed book exam so your girl is
S-T-R-U-G-G-L-I-N-G at the moment.

so since i'm too lazy, i'll just summarize my feelings towards the characters cuz it's therapeutic to rant because y'all... the dumbassery in this book. i can't.

alina:
bish ARE YOU DUMB? you're gonna go and pine for that musty ass boy who chose every other girl and never looked your way until some other man noticed you when TWO powerful dudes want to be with you???



you literally just saw the musty boy making out with zoya and then you're gonna go all i MiSs YoU, MaL bish pls. ugh i can't with you right now.

the darkling:
sir, you need to touch some grass.

but also like-
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zoya:
GIRL, WHAT IS YOU DOINGGG?? there's a hot pirate king right fucking there and you're gonna go for that musty ass boy too?!?!



genya:
keep doing you sweetie.

nikolai:
sir please, this is a veRy plAIn comment doesn’t realLy have any other MEaning.

nothing to see here.

mal:
What. A. Little. Bitch.

this dude really said:
“You flinched. Tell me you didn’t.”
“It wasn’t because of you!”
Mal laughed harshly. “I know you haven’t had much experience. But I’ve kissed enough girls to know what that means. Don’t worry. It won’t happen again.”

what does that mean, mal?
have a lot of girls flinched when they kissed you, mal?
that is very concerning, mal.

and i swear- if that musty, illiterate i Am BEcOmE a BLaDE boy gaslights alina, make her feel inferior, and complain about how much she's "changing" just because she's becoming more powerful and he misses the "old" her one more time, IT'S ON FUCKING SIGHT. somebody better hold my earrings and fake lashes for me because i am ready to fight.

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eh, i was just very bored when i read this. nothing really happened except for nikolai's introduction, mal being a douchebag, alina being... alina, and the darkling being... the ✨darkling✨

can't wait to read the last book tho even though i know i'll hate it because of the ending!!

‧⁺˚*・༓☾ Grisha trilogy ☽༓・*˚⁺‧
#1: shadow and bone3 stars
#2: siege and storm2.25 stars
#3: ruin and risingtbr
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,519 reviews33.8k followers
February 10, 2015
Our Conversation with Leigh Bardugo is up, along with an opportunity to win our Siege and Storm ARC!

4.5 stars Siege and Storm is an exquisite jewel of a book. The second installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy is full of adventure and magic--and in my view, it's even better than Shadow and Bone.

There are flying ships. A thrilling, poignant scene with a magnificent white ice dragon. A whirling, frenzied volcra attack in the night. A sobering ride through the city of Novokribirsk, where names are written in blood on church walls and a Ryeal'nye Alina, "genuine Alina" has terrifying meaning. And Genya--oh, my heart breaks for the beautiful Genya.

So much thought was put into this world, with evocative settings, original folk tales, gorgeous clothes, memorable battles, and incredibly imaginative touches. (I love the gift from Nikolai's father!) The food porn, both real and imagined, made me dizzy with pleasure: smoked sprats on black bread, little dwarf fruit trees, brandied cuckoo, cold soup served in jeweled pumpkin-shaped cups, croquembouche, and a suckling pig, to name but a few of the items that made my mouth water. And I definitely want to have a baby jello deer at my next party! Preferably with a miniature living forest centerpiece.

And while I still hold love for both Mal and The Darkling, there's now also Sturmhond, a dashing privateer with a careless grin and hidden agenda. I can't help it, friends, I have a serious weakness for men who have a gift for witty banter. Alina's interactions with Sturmhond are so much fun to read, and even when he's out of the room, his presence continues to fill it.

"So you don't trust me to resist his charms?"

"I don't even trust myself. I've never seen anyone work a crowd the way he does. I'm pretty sure the rock and trees are getting ready to swear fealty to him."


Most of all, I love how Alina character has undergone interesting development. She begins asserting herself more and more, and the allure of power beckons seductively--but the price she must pay for it may be more than she can afford.

I looked up at the star-filled sky. The night was velvety black and strewn with jewels. The hunger struck me suddenly. I want them, I thought. All that light, all that power. I want it all.

Her relationship with Mal is now terribly complicated, both by her position as Sun Summoner and by the position she's put him in. So many YA books revert to tired old machinations to separate love interests, but the tension and difficulty between these two feel urgent and real.

I have to say, Shadow and Bone is the only book that all three of us read and loved last year on the blog, and all three of us love this sequel, too! I mean, K says it deserves a meteor shower of stars. What does this mean for book three? Will Leigh Bardugo blow our minds with Ruin and Rising? I have the feeling the answer is going to be a resounding YES.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
257 reviews4,850 followers
February 26, 2018
Holy freaking crap.

You know when a book is so good... so captivating.. that you cannot find the words to even give it a worthy review? Even now, I find myself without many words to express how much I love this series.

So I'm just going to leave you with a few reasons this book is totally legit.

1. PIRATES. Snarky ones.
2. STEAMPUNK STEAMPUNK STEAMPUNK!!!!
3. BADASS MAGIC
4. YES, this book is much darker than the first.
5. Mind games. Crazy ones. The struggle is real [and swoon worthy]
6. Alina's character growth
7. Second book syndrome? NOPE. And the last half is bat shit crazy.
8. The *thing* that you aren't sure if its real or not.. and the moment you find out if you're right or wrong (anyone?? yeah??)
9. GORGEOUS writing.
10. THE FREAKING ENDING. LEGIIIITTTTTTTTT.
11. The Darkling. Nuff said.

I literally could not read fast enough. There is so much emotional struggle - so many challenges, and our dear Alina had to suffer them all... and yet in the end, she was the BALLER that I knew she would be.

And I gotta say something about Mal.
(This isn't super spoilery imo but read at your own risk.)
He gets a lot of shit in this book for his rash decisions. Most people tend to hate him, but I just can't bring myself to feel anything but sorrow for him. He is just hurting... and hurting people hurt people. And if you ask me, he does get his shot at redemption in the future. Now does that mean I ship him with Alina? I'm not gonna answer that. You'll have to read my review of book 3.

Lastly, just a friendly reminder that I compiled a list of songs [that are more or less really just for the Darkling himself...] You can check them out here!!!
**and can I just say that I imagine the song "Frost Flowers" by Evelyn Glennie is perfect for the scene between Alina + the Darkling in his room....

Ps... I feel like I should note that I read this series on audible. The narrator was absolutely phenomenal. Ohhhh how good she does all the voices... If you have only read the physical copy, I recommend going back through these on audio!

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16k followers
December 4, 2013
Sequels are really hard to write reviews for. Mostly because people don’t want to read them for fear of spoilers, but keeping them spoiler free makes it difficult to properly discuss the book. So now I’m going to have to do this review in code.

In Siege and Storm Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling. They meet Pumpkin who has the ability to help Alina defeat the Darkling. Problem is, Mal and Pumpkin don’t get on at all. Also, the Darkling can now line dance which adds a level of complication. As well as line dancing, which makes a dark and creepy addition to the novel, the Darling drives a wedge between Mal and Alina by knitting. Also, I think he may be losing the plot a little.

Twilight gone mad

Firstly, Bardugo’s writing has dramatically improved. Siege & Storm is a far smoother novel, both in terms of writing craft and pacing. The tension is always ramped up, the drama meter is set to erupt and before you realize what is happening, it all explodes in your face, leaving you clutching at the tattered remains of your heart and an ego that is no longer ashamed to see you crawl onto twitter to cry on Bardugo’s shoulder.

I can’t really talk too much about the characters without giving it away – but Alina kicked butt in this installment. Especially when she got hold of her aardvark. No more doe-eyed victim. She really struggles and grapples with her goiter. What does her goiter mean for her? For Mal? For the future of Ravka? And was the Darkling right about that Chinese finger box between Mal and Alina? Mal struggles the most in this novel as he is a salt mine. And in his salt mineyness he deteriorates and loses a lot of faith. I have a feeling he learned a lot about himself in this novel.

Everyone grows and changes, even the Darkling a little and I wonder if he’ll let Alina continue to cross stitch, or if he’s finally going to seriously back stitch her? Or has his line dancing finally started to shake him up? So many questions, so many moral and ethical dilemmas.

There is little doubt that Pumpkin stole the show and I applaud Bardugo for his inclusion. He certainly made life interesting and added a great comedic element to the book. Overall, Siege and Storm managed to be a stronger novel than the first. Now I absolutely can’t wait for the next!

*This review also appears on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.*

An ARC was provided to me by Macmillan for reviewing purposes. No money or favors were exchanged for this review.
Profile Image for Ayman.
179 reviews66.4k followers
July 29, 2021
this was slow but ok i guess. easily could have been 75 pages less. please tell me it gets better in book 3? also why was mal so annoying in this book? i know how things turn out for them but gah damn son can you shut up? literally nikolai is the only one i care for at this point. i just wanna get to king of scars already.
Profile Image for Beenish.
292 reviews325 followers
May 30, 2021
2★ | because a book with Nikolai in it deserves to be rated.otherwise this book gets 0 stars from me.

We do our best. We try. And usually, it makes no difference at all.


This book also deserves a rating coz I read it when I was feeling very low and so many lines made me feel relatable and better. For example, the line I quoted above.

Now, coming back to the book talk,
Does the plot get better? No.
Does the protagonist get better? No.
Does the love interest get better? No.
Does the villain get better? Slightly, yes.
Does anyone (esp. Mal) die? No.
BUT,
Does the author create a new character that becomes the life blown into this book like a soul to the body? YES!
Does anyone have a Character? Nikolai.
Does Nikolai have a personality? The best!
Does anyone have a sense of humour? Nikolai.
Does Nikolai become my new favourite character? Yes, from the moment I met him and didn't even know his name.

I am so not bothered about telling you the ridiculous plot that made me wanna cry for reading it. And I'm not exaggerating. So if you're interested in my rant, WELCOME.

“If you want to lie to me, go ahead. But I’m not going to pretend to believe you.”
“Why not?” asked Sturmhond, stepping into the tent. “It’s only common courtesy.”


I mean, seriously? XD I LOVED Sturmhond ❤️

“You heard Prince Perfect,” Mal said, and joined us at the table.
Nikolai grinned. “I’ve had a lot of nicknames, but that one is easily the most accurate.”


And, I Love Nikolai 🤣
AND, for this rare moment, I loved Mal for calling him Prince Perfect.
And I hated him for saying something right, lol.

“I wanted to make you human,” he said. “All they see when they look at you is the Sun Summoner. They see a threat, another powerful Grisha like the Darkling. I want them to see a daughter or a sister or a friend. I want them to see Alina.”


Just listen okay? I STILL hate him a lot. I mean, I could burn with the hate I have for him. But the author tried REALLY HARD to make us see he's a human. To make us see he's better than he's been acting around. And as much as I appreciate a man saying things that Mal says, I think they just don't suit him. It feels so fake. Like he wants to be loved but I'm sorry, I want him to DIE!

“Why are you so ready to attack him?”
“Why are you so quick to defend him?”


Um okay. AND every time he DOES say something nice, he does something worse to erase that good he does/says.
I DO NOT CARE about a man who is Mal. Who is so jealous and insecure and possessive and bossy and acts like he's THE MAN but isn't really.

“I want to kiss you,” he said.
“You already kissed me,” I replied with a nervous laugh.
A smile tugged at his lips. “I want to kiss you again,” he amended.


Isn't he just the BEST MAN ALIVE?
Mal is a very boring and dry pussy.
The Darkling is very hot but just randomly grabs and kisses and manipulates you.
But Nikolai has the guts and courtesy to tell you he wants to kiss you when he knows you have a boyfriend and doesn't force you or take advantage of you and keeps control on his desire.
Now, THAT'S the man I want.
I would say Alina is stupid to reject Nikolai and choose Mal.
I mean, even animals have brains imo.
But at the same time, I'm so happy she doesn't say yes coz I LOVE NIKOLAI and deeply feel he deserves a much, much better person than her.

“At least she doesn’t flinch when I touch her,” he spat. “You don’t want me, so why do you care if she does?”


You motherfucking asshole! You don't even deserve the right to be in this god damned book! Be grateful you're here and NOT dead and that we READERS are tolerating you!
I wish I could strangle this guy!!!


In the end, all I want to say is that going through this book felt like a waste except, I'm very glad I met Nikolai. For some he might be just another guy who lightens up the mood but for me, he's everything that kept this book alive.
I liked his way of flirting with Alina. Tbh, I call that decent flirting, lol.
And, Ah! The Darkling.
I loved him and started disliking him and hated him and then I started liking him again. The thing is, he is the villain and a very good one at that. But my desire to know the boy and how he became the villain wasn't fulfilled. That was very disappointing. Like verrrrrryyyy disappointing. 😔
Baghra, Genya, Zoya, David, Nikolai. They were 1000x better than the main characters, Alina and Mal.
They're both very bland.
Very stupid.
And the idiots deserve to live together.


my reviews of
The Demon in the Wood 4★
The Witch of Duva 5★
Shadow and Bone 3★
The Tailor 4★
Little Knife 5★
The Too-Clever Fox 4★
Ruin and Rising 2.5★

Six of Crows 4★
Crooked Kindgom 4.5★

_____________________

pre-read review

1.5 ★ for Nikolai and point 5 for a really quick read.

I can't believe this book is so loved. Honestly, this book deserves 0★ I just, I can'ttt.. If you see my rating, know that it is only for Nikolai! The boy who is aka the the life the author blew into this book
_____________________

Edit: SCRATCH everything I wrote before/below. Okay not everything. Just add this:

Nikolai OWNS this book!!!
EVERY PAGE he has a dialogue on, it shines! I'm telling you, it shines!! ✨😅
_____________________

So—Am I up for another book with the same old Protagonist aka. The aMaZiNg Alina? *eye roll*
—Do I want to see Alina and Mal being all lovey-dovey? *eye roll* ugh.
—Do I think this would get better? Obviously NO. How can it when it's written in first person through the pov of a very stupid girl?





—oh look, Sarah J. Maas, the great great author liked Shadow and Bone and her Acotar book is obviously a very bad book written on the same plotting style as this book, (because this WAS better than THAT and yet not good at all) so like, idk. It shows me I can't take Sjm's word on anything. I'm officially her critic and will never be on good terms with her.
ANYWAYS

—the Darkling? Naaaa. Not a fan. I just started loving him (and still do) for that interesting shadow power he has and how good he looks and because of that fanart from Morgana0anagrom ofc. But idk. There's nothing more to him then him being the villain after that "plot twist" *eye roll* jk. It did shock me. :/ Lilah called him a Disney villain and thats just how I can see him now.
*Eye roll*
*Eye roll*
*Eye roll*
—cont.
I hope I don't lose my eyes.
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