Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2) Siege and Storm discussion


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Added Nikolai & made a rectangle {Spoilers}

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Sierra Franklin I was never fond of love triangles but in Shadow & Bone the choice was clear(to me). In Siege & Storm, the triangle turned into rectangle. Why a rectangle and not a square you ask? Because two sides clearly got the short in of the stick. Mal and the Darkling.

Mal, even shining at his brightest, is still a dwarf compared to suns. Not much to say about him because he was just there. I'm pretty sure he is either going to end up with Zoyla or dead in book 3.

The Darkling, however, wasn't there. Although I grew to love Alina in this book because she grew into her own, I only tolerated her in the first book. It was the Darkling that captivated me so for him to barely be in this book was a major disappointment. But disappointment turned to heartbreak because the limited parts in the book he does has, he was EVVIIILLLL! And not remotely in a redeemable way. I mean he has murdered hundreds. Ashamed to admit that once I realized that the author put him on an nonredeemable path, I wanted Alina to crossover. I want her to go bad so badly. My hopes got up in the last few pages but those hopes were crushed. (SHE ALMOST KILLED HIM!! But I still hope he wasn't hurt too badly ~sigh~)

That leaves us with the Fox. Almost a mixture between Mal and the Darkling. The goodness from Mal but the (potential royal) power, respect, and chemistry of the Darkling. I'm coming to the unfortunate acceptance that Nikolai Lantsov will end up with Alina and I don't like it. Part of me don't trust him but I have a feeling his flaws will be redeemable and not multiple occasions of mass murder.

Have you jumped off the Darkling ship and are now on board to Nikolai's? (Mal doesn't have a ship...maybe a boat)
I'm still in the ocean trying to decided if I want stick with the dark-side or side with the Fox.


Alissa I didn't like the fact that the Darkling was barely in S&S and I don't think that he can be redeemed. I think he's going to make it in the last book. Anybody know the title? I'm kinda okay with Nik ending up with Alina....At least over Mal. I kinda think Mal might end up with Tamar.


message 3: by Sierra (last edited Jun 05, 2013 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sierra Franklin Alissa wrote: " I kinda think Mal might end up with Tamar. "

Interesting...I actually thought she might end up with her own story.


Jessica I still think Alina and Mal will end up together.. The Darkling is in 2nd with Sturmhond in 3rd.. I was jumping ships left & right reading Siege and Storm.. I was totally Team Darkling the whole Shadow and Bone book & then by 50% of S&S I was Team Sturmhond but at the end of the book I was Team Mal.. It's a weird feeling knowing that no matter who she picks in Ruin & Rising (even if she picks no one or dies) I'll be happy

I did miss Mr. Darkling this book, but when he was there, he didn't disappoint


message 5: by WinterRose (last edited Jun 05, 2013 09:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

WinterRose I really feel like if we had the Darkling's POV, it would change so much. (I mean there's a reason Leigh won't give it to us until after the trilogy is over and a reason she said if we had his POV, he wouldn't seem like a villain.)

I get that, from his position, he was going to punish Baghra and Genya. Alina would punish anyone who let the Darkling escape if she had captured him. BUT the severity of the punishment is where the Darkling crossed the line. I don't think this makes him unredeemable or evil though. (Cruel, most definitely.)

Leigh has said multiple times on Twitter that she doesn't think of him as evil. If he was evil, I don't think we'd have seen the flash of pain across his face when he thought of Baghra.

ANYWAY, onto Sturmhond, who I still can't call Nikolai. He's Sturmhond to me. :P I think he will end up as king for sure, so if Alina's fate is to be a queen, she'll end up with him. I don't hate the idea as much as Alina ending up with Mal. So many things wrong with that relationship and honestly, I feel like both deserve more. Alina can't go back to her unhealthy lifestyle and Mal can't be a guard dog. (I too wondered if he'd end up with Zoya)

I still want Alina and the Darkling to end up together, but I want some of his ice to melt. The thing is that with Alina and the Darkling, they give off such yin/yang soulmate feels, you know? Like calls to like. :P I didn't realize it before, but I also like how they connect over their mutual loneliness. They can relate to that in one another.

"I have seen what you truly are and I've never turned away. I never will."

I think that was one of the strongest lines in the book, because more than anything Alina needs someone who accepts who she is and doesn't try to change her.


Sierra Franklin WinterRose wrote: "I really feel like if we had the Darkling's POV, it would change so much. (I mean there's a reason Leigh won't give it to us until after the trilogy is over and a reason she said if we had his POV,..."

When I first read Shadow and Bone, I remember thinking about how lonely it must of been for the Darkling to be so unique. Interesting to note that the same can be applied to Genya. Despite her beauty, she was lonely too because of her uniqueness. It seems likes having a unique talent can ostracize you within the Grisha community. Even towards the end, Alina wasn't part of that community. She lead it.

As for the Darkling. I can't shake this feeling he is being setup to lose Alina. I get its a war and lives are lost but consider what we know about the Darkling so far:

-He created the fold which destroyed a entire town and indirectly killed hundreds over the next generations
-He tried to enslave Alina
-He then wiped out another town.
-He disfigured is own mother
-Destroyed most of Alina Grisha army ( around 45)
-Killed a room full of royals
-He disfigured a loyal follower(Genya) who he had previously given too the Queen as a servant and the King as a toy

This isn't including the multitude of threats and this is only what we know of his actions within a single year (excluding the first).

I originally assumed he would be redeemed as the protector of the Grisha but he has killed quite a few of them.

I just don't wan't her to end up with Mal. I would actually prefer martyrdom over that. But as much as I would love a Darkling and Alina happy ending, my hopes aren't so high. However, I have to say about 85% of me still hopes that the clever Fox can't escape is next trap. I'm pretty sure he will be king...and a great one but I'm finding it hard to route for him with Alina even though I'm about 70% sure he will end up with her.


message 7: by WinterRose (last edited Jun 05, 2013 11:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

WinterRose Yeah I agree. He really is set up for death, lol. My gut instinct is that he destroys the fold by destroying himself, and thus he dies redeemed.

The Darkling just doesn't have many endings. Even if he redeems himself and say, lives, what will he do? lol He's either going to end up in a role that has power--king or army leader--or he'll die. Alina will either end up queen or an army leader.

I'm actually not quite as fangirly over Sturmhond as most people are. His character sort of confuses me. I liked the pirate, somewhat eccentric, swagger and rogue-quality we saw in Sturmhond. Then when he's Nikolai, he seemed totally different. I wish he wasn't a prince at all, honestly. His character felt a little inconsistent. But yeah..I have a feeling Alina might end up with him.

Or maybe she'll go the Deathless route and kill off the Darkling and Alina lol. I don't know if you've read Deathless, but there is some similarities in the main leads in both stories.

What's interesting though is that the Darkling isn't a bad leader. I think S&B showed that. He's just..lost some humanity along the way. I've always felt like Alina would balance that out.

I just don't know if one more book is enough time for him to come around. Or if he realizes there is more to life than power, and his wants/goals change. I always refer to something Leigh said because it's what I'm hoping for with the Darkling:

"What does it mean when a boy who trusts no one chooses to trust you? Or when someone single-minded in his mission (whatever that may be), let's you distract him from that all-important goal (vengeance against his enemies, world domination, acquiring the Sword of Florgenflerg at any cost, etc.)? Frankly, it means you're awesome. It means there's something compelling enough about you to pull him off course, to drag him from his self-imposed exile from humanity, to disturb his well-ordered universe, and make him long for something more."

I hope/want the Darkling to long for something more. :P


Sierra Franklin Yeah, I kinda rolled my eyes when I found out Sturmhond was a prince. The second he revealed himself, I knew that the author was going to add him into Alina romance drama. It was TOO predictable. The author compares Sturmhond to a Fox..clever and charming. But foxes are wild animals, unpredictable and manipulative. He lies to easily, too quickly. He definitively got a big secret.

I've never read Deathless, though I now might, but I would be surprisingly happy if Darkling and Alina die in the end while trying to destroy the Fold together. They both got way too much power than can corrupt them and who knows how long they might live naturally. I mean, the Darkling outlived several generations and still looks...? 19? He could possible live to a 1000 and only appear in his mid-twenties (if he still ages) Plus, he hinted at the fact that she will outlive the ones she love; indicating she will age like him.

And now that I think about the aging thing, the author could go the whole Clockwork Princess route. In the last chapter, she ends up with Sturmhond or Mal (doubt it). Then in the 'After' chapter, she outlives whoever she chooses and several 100 years in the future meets up with the Darkling and spends eternity with him.

I don't think the Darkling will stay king of his country but I can see the possibility he will be king/leader of the Grisha with Alina. Alina will definitively end up in either in some type of leader/royal role or a martyr. She is not destine to be ordinary.

And what happens "when a boy who trusts no one chooses to trust you" and you tried to kill him and almost succeed twice??? The Darkling could very well want Alina dead in book 3...So many possibilities to ponder over until the answers are revealed next year..


message 9: by anilee (new) - added it

anilee I doubt Alina will end up with Sturmhond; he strikes me as this guy she likes and wouldn't mind kissing sometimes but is at the end of the day a good friend most of all. Unless something drastically changes in the third book, if she ends up with him, it seems like it'd more of an arranged marriage, like Alina would only end up with him if she decided that she wanted to be queen and help her country that way.

I don't believe the Darkling is evil. Granted, I usually have a thing for the villains (still rooting for Voldemort, that's me) but there's nothing that suggests that the Darkling is truly evil. Even when he's killing people. It always seems like he believes that it's truly for the best. And why wouldn't he? He's seen the way Grisha are treated. He's seen the way his country is failing due to an incompetent king who doesn't care. And he's a gifted, charismatic leader. The country would probably be better off in his hands.

And I think to some extent, Alina doesn't even truly believe he's evil. I don't think she can because what would that mean for her? If the only person who can actually understand her power is evil?

and I don't think the Darkling wants her dead. Not really. If she's going to continue getting in his way, then she'll have to be an unfortunate causality of war, but he'd prefer if he didn't. For centuries, he's been alone; Alina's his equal.

But I'm kind of terrified that Alina is going to end up with Mal, which means that I'm going to throw Ruin and Rising against the wall because I hate Mal so much. He's either horribly boring or annoyingly angsty, and he doesn't understand Alina at all. He's holding her back, trying to get her to go back to who she was before she learned about her power and started embracing her potential, and no. I want Alina to end up with power, and I don't want her to bring Mal with her.


message 10: by WinterRose (last edited Jun 06, 2013 12:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

WinterRose @ Sierra - Omg I'll be so mad if we get a Clockwork Princess ending lol. I was not happy about it at all. Felt like such a cop out so Tessa would never have to choose.

Sturmhond does seem a little shifty to be a king. The Darkling has good qualities for the job, but I think that might be too much power for him and he'd have to rule with a little less of an iron fist lol.


@ anilee - I don't think the Darkling will want Alina dead either, simply because of something he said in S&S: "Then I'd be alone, too." I think that's something he fears, that he's going to be alone and isolated from the world again. He's already said he's used to people trying to kill him anyway lol.

I'll be disappointed if Mal and Alina end up together, especially if they never resolve their power imbalance. As kids, the power shifted in Mal's favor; now it shifts in Alina's. They both want the other to be someone they aren't. Mal wants Alina to go back to the girl he knew growing up, even though we know that girl was unhealthy, sickly, and very lonely. Then we have Alina, who wants Mal to be a guard dog and stay even though he's miserable.

I'm not a huge fan of Mal's character either. He's very cliché best friend to the girl who has the supernatural thing going on. I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be Grisha and then I'll be REAL annoyed. He already has the special snowflake syndrome going on. It's funny though because characters like Sturmhond and the Darkling point out Mal's flaws and yet Alina still denies them.


Sierra Franklin "He already has the special snowflake syndrome going on" <--lol

Mal is definitely is something more than human. That tracking ability isn't normal. What I don't like about Mal is that he has always been okay with her being in his shadows. I had hoped him kissing Zoyla would be the nail in the coffin for him but Alina doesn't care that he'll cheat on her because he doesn't feel needed. I think we will learn a lot more about Mal and Alina when the hunt for the firebird happens.


message 12: by anilee (last edited Jun 06, 2013 02:07PM) (new) - added it

anilee He totally DOES have special snowflake syndrome. And it's so irritating because you're right, Sierra. It's not until Alina becomes actually important and powerful that Mal notices her and becomes super-protective of who she used to be. Alina's not stupid; she knows what she's risking in her search for the firebird and her attempt to bring down the Darkling. She knows she's losing who she was to become something much more powerful. And Alina's not self-destructive or anything and she's not doing it for herself. She's doing it for Ravka and the world, because she's the only one who can.

But seriously, if Mal is Grisha, I really am going to throw the book against the wall. Especially if he uses it as an attempt to bring her back to his level again. I feel like Mal is a feminist's nightmare. I mean, the Darkling and Nikolai might both want to use Alina, they also respect her. But Mal? I don't get the impression that he respects her. If he did, he would try harder to be there for her or he would just leave if he can't handle Alina's new role. I feel like Alina is at least trying to be supportive of Mal and maintain their relationship the best she can while she adapts to her new role. Alina didn't originally want power, but she's growing into her ability and starting to realize that she deserves some authority and that she actually wants some power and play a role in creating her country's future, and she knows that it's going to change her and therefore her relationship with Mal. She's putting Ravka before Mal, and you know what? That's her right. I mean, if the Darkling wins, Mal's life is going to be horrible because he's just going to be a prisoner used to control Alina. I get the impression that Alina would let Mal go if he really really wanted to because she wants him to be happy. She wants him to stay with her, but I think she understands that she has to lose some things that are important to her.

@Winter: I was thinking of that line too. I totally ship the Darkling and Alina. And let them rule Ravka forever and ever. Alina can keep him from trying to destroy the world. And really, yes, Alina's tried to kill him, which does put a damper on the relationship, I'm sure, but it's also probably a bit refreshing because how many people can successfully almost kill the Darkling?

I don't mind the ending of Clockwork Princess, but I would have preferred no epilogue but in City of Heavenly Fire, (view spoiler). So it comes out to the same thing, but not really because it wouldn't be established canonically. (I don't like prologues and epilogues, although I love the ones in Shadow and Bone and Storm and Siege because they switch to third person but still follow Alina.)


Sierra Franklin @Anilee. I did get the impression that Mal likes her weak. And Alina and the Darkling is like Ying and Yang, they would make the ultimate leader together. He builds her up, she reign's him in. But how many human Ravkan would be WILLING to follow him? The Ravkan trust in him is probably shattered.


message 14: by anilee (new) - added it

anilee I'd be perfectly okay if they threatened the Ravkans into submission.

Or hey, Alina can just shut up about how the Darkling is basically immortal and pretend to kill him so a "new" Darkling can come out of hiding.


Sierra Franklin Alina would be stupid to let that cat out of the bag. People will put 2 & 2 together and I don't think people will like one ruler for eternity, whether it be Alina,the Darkling, or both.I do like the idea of a "new" Darkling.

I wonder if Alina can have children, and if she can...how long would her children live. Small Science doesn't seems to be hereditary.I got the impression that some people were just born with it.


WinterRose "I did get the impression that Mal likes her weak."

That, and he likes to feel "needed." I don't know if he's ever really thought of it this way, but Alina has always leaned on him and needed him. Now she's standing on her own two feet. I don't think Mal knows what to do with the Alina who no longer follows in his shadow.

"It's not until Alina becomes actually important and powerful that Mal notices her and becomes super-protective of who she used to be."

What really shocks me is that, actually. When I went back and re-read the beginning of S&B, he is so..out of sync with her. No idea of her crush, no idea she's sickly and just..sad. She came across as very lonely and sad to me in the beginning, like a loner.

Mal goes from that to over the top protective, which just didn't make sense to me. I understand some protectiveness, but his was too much. The Darking or Sturmhond touches her, he flips out. Sturmhond mentions a politically understandable proposal, he flips out. Some jealousy is understandable, but I think he's just too over the top.

"That tracking ability isn't normal."

I don't think so either. Actually, I have no idea how one "tracks" in these books. Makes no sense to me lol. It's just going to be annoying if this is used as a way to keep Mal and Alina as endgame. Implying that they could only work out if Mal is "not normal" and "special" too.

Maybe they'll turn out to be brother and sister and realize their "love" is actually platonic, bahaha.

"I do like the idea of a "new" Darkling."

I didn't consider this, but that could happen. I do wonder how he's gone all these years with the same face, or if he alters his appearance a little each time. How can you fake deaths and a new Darkling arise right after if they look exactly the same? lol

Baghra has the same power as the Darkling, so this proves that his power doesn't equal evil; and also that it can be hereditary.


anne⁷ | BUTTER 21 May 2021 I've always thought it was going to be Malina. I really hope this isn't like Trylle, else I might just... cease existing. :(


message 18: by Fifth Horseman (last edited Jun 07, 2013 08:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fifth Horseman I adore the Darkling. I feel that he's the only one that's equal to her. The only one who truly accepts her and understands her. He doesn't shy away from her or criticize her for being who she is and having the power that she does.

Mal just brings her down. He makes her weak. And I feel like he wants to make her weak. To make her follow him around like a lost little puppy like she used to. I feel like he doesn't want her to reach her full potential, because then he'll know that she deserves more.

I'd rather she end up with Sturmhond or the freaking Apparat than Mal.


Robin (Bridge Four) Hmmmm.....just finished and I have a few theories.

Don't click on spoilers it you don't want to be spoiled or read my theories for Rise and Ruin.

Mal is special but maybe not in a way we expect (view spoiler) anyway that is just my theory. But I’m Malina all the way even if I agree with Sturmhond when he said something to the effect of “For two people with an unyielding love you are kind of jealous” I understand they are both young but I really wanted them to be more sure of one another.
The Darkling is kind of creepy to me. I see the allure sometimes, but man he is sinister and can be so cruel and that deep void he has in him sucks all the life and goodness out of Alina. Sturmhond is fun and comic relief but not really a solid love interest imo. Mal I think could be great. I don’t think he is really trying to hold Alina back I think that he is just trying to make sure she doesn’t lose sense of herself and doesn’t know how to help her. He has known her since childhood so if anyone can ground her to who she is it should be him. He sees how much she has changed from the kind girl he knew into the power hungry sometime mean girl she can be at times. Mal is the hero; even Sturmhond recognized that when he said he would go find the firebird. “Let him go Alina, that is what heroes do.”
Rise and Ruin could be tragic if what Alina said comes true. She remarked that Most Saints and Heroes end up dead. That could be what is in store for our star crossed lovers.


message 20: by Sierra (last edited Jun 07, 2013 02:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sierra Franklin Robin wrote: "Hmmmm.....just finished and I have a few theories.

Don't click on spoilers it you don't want to be spoiled or read my theories for Rise and Ruin.

Mal is special but maybe not in a way we expect ..."


I like you theory and it kind of makes sense because Mal is from (I think) the same place Alina is from and that is where the firebird is. At the very least, there is a connection.But that wouldn't be too good for him. Alina doesn't feel complete without it so I'm pretty confident she going to get it. Maybe that's how they was be together forever.

I just don't buy the love story between them. Like Winter said, he didn't seem to truly notice her until she came into her power. How can you not notice the girl you grew up with, your best friend, the person you claim you always loved felt insecure, sad, and lonely all the time.

And don't forget Zoyla. What happened between them in Shadow & Bone when he went looking for her? And that kiss between him and her when he was still with Alina.

Neither Alina and Mal have feelings 100% solely for each other. When Zoyla kissed Mal, he kissed her back. If the Darkling kissed Alina (with her full knowledge it was him), she would kiss him back.

Like A said," I'd rather she end up with Sturmhond or the freaking Apparat than Mal."


Robin (Bridge Four) I see what you are saying I’m not saying they are perfect together yet and I’m very biased currently. But I thought that Mal said he didn’t know that his feelings were more than friendship until she wasn’t there every day then he realized how much he liked/loved her.

Oh and I remember Zoyla….ewe. jk. Alina almost kissed Nikolai just before that. They are sort of broken up so I guess it is fair game.

She and the Darkling have some kind of heat I’m not really sure what it is and that 'like calls to like' has been said a bunch of times so I’m sure that will be important later. It really could go either way but I still ship Malina even though it got a little juvenile a few times this book. I did like their cute banter

I've just sorta seen it as Mal/Alina against the world. I can totally see why many don't like Mal but of the three he is still my favorite.


message 22: by anilee (new) - added it

anilee I'm not a fan of the childhood-best-friend-becomes-true-love trope, and I particularly don't love it here. I've got reasons. And it's not including the fact that I hate Mal and I'd be perfectly okay if he were the third amplifier because that could maybe mean that Alina would have to kill him to completely harness the power and that means that Mal would end up dead and I'm sorry, it's probably a bit disturbing that I'm so eager for the death of a fictional character. It's actually kind of strange that I care so much, so kudos to Leigh Bardugo. Anyway.

So. Mal and Alina both grew up in the same orphanage. They arrived within the same time frame and were the youngest, so they bonded. They became best friends. They were all each other hand in the way of family. And Alina, who didn't completely belong anywhere else, belonged with Mal. At least, until she met the Darkling. But Mal never had that problem. He's good at tracking and well-liked by his fellow soldiers. He's popular. He might need Alina, but nowhere near the way that she needs him.

It kind of seems like, from Alina's end, Mal was just always The One because he was the only one that she ever felt even remotely comfortable around. So in a way, it's a bit like settling for her to end up with him. At least, not without her letting him go completely. If they end up together after some quality time apart, each seeking themselves and not thinking about the other until they suddenly meet again and sparks fly, I could maybe be okay with that. But for right now, it seems static. Even worse, it seems like a regression, like Alina and Mal are both trying to hold onto their pasts. But they can't, and they know it, and it's frustrating them both to the point where they act like idiots. They need to let go, and they won't, but until they do, they can't really know what they want.

Whereas Alina has not grown up depending on the Darkling or Sturmhond as her family. She can form connections with them based on who she is currently, not on who she once was. She needs the chance to do that with Mal, and then maybe I'd be more okay with them. Although he'd still probably be my least favourite.


message 23: by WinterRose (last edited Jun 07, 2013 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

WinterRose That's a good theory about Mal being the firebird, or maybe he's the opposite of an amplifier. I'll probably gag to death though if this is used as a way for Alina to be "complete."

My biggest problem is that Mal has always overshadowed her, and she comes off as very dependent. I mean she doesn't even learn to use her power or grow until she lets him and her old life go.

I don't know about anyone else, but I wasn't a huge fan of the Alina we know at the beginning of the story, so I'm not keen on Mal wanting to "bring that girl back." She was weak, physically and emotionally, and not healthy. All because she ignored who she really is. I don't think it's the case that Mal is presenting: it isn't that she's changing. It's that she's becoming who she's always been deep inside that's been ignored.

"But I thought that Mal said he didn’t know that his feelings were more than friendship until she wasn’t there every day then he realized how much he liked/loved her."

I've never been a fan of this trope lol. His "didn't know I loved her till she was gone" is a bit meh to me considering how he treated her in the beginning, but I take more offense to the fact that he didn't notice how lonely, sad, and unhealthy she really was. For someone who claims to know the real her, he doesn't seem to.

I honestly just feel like Mal and Alina hold each other back too much. I'd rather see Mal with Zoya and Alina with the Darkling or Sturmhond. What I don't want is for Mal or Alina to be someone they aren't for the other.

"I adore the Darkling. I feel that he's the only one that's equal to her. The only one who truly accepts her and understands her. He doesn't shy away from her or criticize her for being who she is and having the power that she does."

Agreed completely, and I think despite what the Darkling has done, he has this advantage over the other guys. Alina has felt like an outcast her whole life, and she needs to be with someone who accepts who she is and what she can do; someone who embraces her power and doesn't ask her to suppress it. (Because as we know, if she does, she becomes sick and unhealthy.)


Sierra Franklin I actually didn't like Alina for about 70% of Shadow and Bone. She came across (to me) as needy and insecure. When she was away from Mal and had started to get over him, that was when she grew into her own.

Even in this book, her independence and confidence grew when Mal was away.

Too me, he is her biggest weakness. I also find it ironic that he doesn't like being called technically a deserter but he wants nothing more than the run away from the war with Ravka best hope with him. He even got Alina to agree for a moment.


message 25: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 07, 2013 04:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Agreed, Robin.

I'm pretty confident that Malina will be endgame, because what's the point of making Mal a love interest and centering the story all around Mal and Alina's relationship and their struggles to be together only to throw it under a bus in the end. That would be bad story-telling and a waste of time, IMHO. It was pretty clear in the "Before" chapter of Shadow and Bone when they held hands that they would do anything to stay together until the very end. Leigh could have just left him as her best friend and nothing more.

Even Leigh said in her Q&A that the heart of Shadow and Bone is the willing to sacrifice for the sake of belonging to someone. Notice Alina said she belonged with Mal in S&S. Mal sacrificed his tracker job and safe life to be with Alina. I think Alina will sacrifice her power at the end to be with Mal.

Then there's that mysterious jolt when Mal touched her wrist, and I really think Mal is special in some way. He never practiced tracking, and his tracking ability isn't normal. I'm not sure about him being the firebird, though. Why would a powerful creature like that be human.


message 26: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 07, 2013 05:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Also, for those who bring up the Zoya kiss, you can't blame Mal for everything. He isn't perfect, and that's what relationships are. People get hurt and they hurt each other. After all, it takes two to tango. If Alina hadn't kept secrets from Mal, everything would have gone a lot smoother. Mal felt useless, rejected (when Alina flinched and he has to watch a powerful man that could give her anything kiss her), out of place, and he became a drunk.

Zoya made it clear to Alina that she intended to steal Mal away from her, and I believe Zoya exploited Mal's vulnerable state at the time she initiated it. I assume to get back at Alina, because she holds grudges. Zoya is a homewrecker, and she isn't ashamed of it.

What makes you think Mal would leave Alina, his childhood best-friend/one he loves and sacrificed so much for, for Zoya, who he isn't even close to? That would just cheapen Mal and Alina's relationship.


message 27: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 07, 2013 05:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev To be on topic, I don't see a love rectangle, or even a love triangle. All I see is that Alina loves Mal and only Mal.

Regarding Nikolai, Alina knew he just wanted to use her to gain power. I also don't take him seriously as a love interest.

Regarding the Darkling, if Alina hated Mal at the end for saving her from killing herself to kill the Darkling, I'm pretty sure she hates the Darkling. She was terrified of him when he used Mal's body(which was really creepy and weird, also hilarious because that's the only way he'd get Alina to respond to his advances) to (technically non-consentually) touch her. I'd gag if she ended up with the Darkling after he tried to kill Mal and tortured/mangled both Baghra and Genya. He's sinister.


message 28: by Sim (last edited Jun 07, 2013 10:27PM) (new)

Sim Robin wrote: "Hmmmm.....just finished and I have a few theories.
Mal is special but maybe not in a way we expect ..."


That is EXACTLY the theory I came up with independently after finishing the book. Came here looking for people to discuss it with but you beat me to it! So I think we may be on to something :) This would explain Mal's superhuman tracking ability, and it sets us up nicely for an angsty ending where Alina has to choose between killing Mal or abandoning Ravka.

You'll notice that both times Mal touches her and something weird happens the text very specifically says that he grabs her wrist, which is where the second cuff would go.

Oh, and to address the original topic of this thread, I don't hate Mal as much as everyone else seems to, but I have a feeling he might need to die for the reasons mentioned above. However, I don't really see Sturmhond or the Darkling as realistic options for Alina either. I mean, I love the *idea* of Alina/Darkling, but I certainly wouldn't push her in that direction if she were my friend IRL.


message 29: by WinterRose (last edited Jun 08, 2013 01:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

WinterRose "it sets us up nicely for an angsty ending where Alina has to choose between killing Mal or abandoning Ravka."

Oh geeze. Imagining Alina wearing Mal on her wrist is so creepy lol.

But honestly, I always agreed with what Alexei said: "You two don't seem to have a lot in common." What if Alina clung to Mal because of the pull she felt from what he is without knowing it?

I do find it hard to believe though that the Grisha could overlook a living amplifier, especially one so powerful. I feel like the Darkling would be able to sense that. Or maybe Mal is just the opposite of an amplifier, like something that reigns in the power.


message 30: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 08, 2013 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev For those who think Alina will kill Mal to wear his bones around her wrist for power, I highly suggest that you go see a psychiatrist, because that's just sick and really disturbing. Oh look, your childhood best friend/lover's bones are around your wrist. What a nice reminder that would be every time she looked at it.

If that were to happen, I would be so disgusted as a fan. I wouldn't even want her to wear the Darkling's bones as an accessory, despite how sinister he is. Why would Alina kill Mal, the only one she loves and trusts the most, for power?

If he were a living amplifier like the Darkling and Baghra, I believe he'll just hold her hand/wrist and amplify her powers like that.


Robin (Bridge Four) Sim wrote: "Robin wrote: "Hmmmm.....just finished and I have a few theories.
Mal is special but maybe not in a way we expect ..."

That is EXACTLY the theory I came up with independently after finishing the b..."


I'm not sure what Mal is. Maybe an amplifier or a dampener or something else completely perhaps a descendant of the Grisha that made the stag, icedragon and firebird. Since it has been said that Mal can make bunnies out of dirt more than once. There is something to that I'm sure.

But it does seem like it is set up that Alina will have to make a choice.


message 32: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 08, 2013 07:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Robin wrote: "Since it has been said that Mal can make bunnies out of dirt more than once. There is something to that I'm sure."

I'm sure Alina meant that he can find rabbits very easily. I don't think she literally meant that he could actually make rabbits out of rocks. =]


message 33: by Sim (new)

Sim Vindictev wrote: "Why would Alina kill Mal, the only one she loves and trusts the most, for power?"

Well, Alina in her right mind would definitely never do such a thing. But the amplifiers seem to be changing her into a much more ruthless person. She (view spoiler) Can you imagine the old Alina doing something like that?? She basically broke a law of nature in taking the second amplifier; I feel like there must be some terrible consequences waiting for her in book 3.

Vindictev wrote: "If he were a living amplifier like the Darkling and Baghra, I believe he'll just hold her hand/wrist and amplify her powers like that."

Ok, this would be a pretty awesome and adorable workaround :) I do like the idea of the power becoming something that unites them rather than a wedge between them. Then the Darkling would be all, "He'll never understand or accept your power!" and Alina could be like, "He is my power, bitch."

So, hmm. Now I'm not sure. I guess actually having Mal die might be too dark for this series. On the other hand, I do think Alina has much further to fall. After all, the Darkling was probably a normal person before he became the way he is, and Alina is his parallel in many ways.


Robin (Bridge Four) Sim wrote lol...
Ok, this would be a pretty awesome and adorable workaround :) I do like the idea of the power becoming something that unites them rather than a wedge between them. Then the Darkling would be all, "He'll never understand or accept your power!" and Alina could be like, "He is my power, bitch."

That would be funny.

What is up with Alina's power at the end of the book. It is just gone since she pushed so far or something else? Right now she has no defenses and is that because of how close to death she was or because she really wanted to die. Also if she is powerless do you think the Darkling is powerless too?


WinterRose Leigh recently released an interview that talks about how you can only take an amplifier if you take the life of the creature. She said she wanted the "magic" so to say to come with sacrifice and a price.

So, as creepy as this sounds, this leads me to believe Mal will have to die in order for Alina to use him. (If he's an amplifier that is.) But we know Alina wouldn't do that.

Hopefully if the firebird isn't Mal or anything, someone who isn't Grisha will kill it so no one can claim it's power.


message 36: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 08, 2013 02:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Sim wrote: "Ok, this would be a pretty awesome and adorable workaround :) I do like the idea of the power becoming something that unites them rather than a wedge between them. Then the Darkling would be all, "He'll never understand or accept your power!" and Alina could be like, "He is my power, bitch."

Yes to this.

Oh man, I would love to see them hold hands in battle. I meant that Mal can hold Alina's hand/wrist and amplify her power the way Baghra did when she trained Alina. Mal touching her wrist already has an effect on Alina, so I believe that book 3 will explore that.

I just hope Mal has some special power, because I'm tired of seeing him cast aside and feeling useless.

I doubt Leigh would go that grotesque. Having Alina wear Mal's bones, I mean.


message 37: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 08, 2013 02:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Guys, when Mal connected his fingers around Alina's wrist, that's when the jolt was sent throughout her body. His fingers were basically a cuff around her wrist. Mal should be the Third Amplifier.

Her wrist is where part of the firebird is supposed to be. Lets not forget that Mal has a superhuman tracking ability. He tracked Rusalye out in the middle of the sea, and the stag in a country for crying out loud. It can’t be a coincidence and sheer luck that he actually found the ice dragon when they were miles away in the north and surrounded by water.


message 38: by Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall (last edited Jun 15, 2013 05:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall Basically my opinion of the Darkling is-First half of the book(S&B) favorite character, second half he jumps off the Slippery Slope and I hate him but am holding out that he redeems himself.
In Siege and Storm if Nikolai wasn't there the Darkling would be my favorite character, until he jumps off the Slippery Slope again and I curse the author(not really) for redemption being a near-impossibility in Ruin and Rising.

On the shipping side I almost shipped The Darkling and Alina until the aforementioned creepy Slope-jumping, I like Nikolai much better than Mal but know Alina will end up with Mal
Summed up(that'l be the day) Nikolai and Alina are the more charming couple but Mal and Alina are the near-definite and still somewhat charming couple.


anne⁷ | BUTTER 21 May 2021 Vindictev wrote: "Guys, when Mal connected his fingers around Alina's wrist, that's when the jolt was sent throughout her body. His fingers were basically a cuff around her wrist. Mal should be the Third Amplifier.
..."


*faints*


message 40: by Vindictev (last edited Jun 15, 2013 10:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vindictev Either that or Mal is a descendant or reincarnation of Ilya Morozova. There must be an explanation as to how he found 2 of Morozova's mythical creatures.


Christina I still ship the Darkling. I keep telling myself over and over and over that if Darth Vader can slaughter a room full of little kids and be redeemed, the Darkling can be redeemed. At least that's my line of reasoning whether it is logical or not. I just don't want him to end up dead.

I really DO NOT want Alina to end up with Mal. In all honesty, he's okay as her friend but I don't get the appeal as a lover. I'm sorry, I just don't. Plus, he is way too obvious of a freakin' choice. Bardugo has been kind of breaking the rules with her first two books though so I am really hoping all that foreshadowing about the Darkling being redeemable isn't just for show. Plus, I want him redeemed for Baghra's sake, if anything.

It's been made pretty clear that the Darkling actually does like Alina in some way, shape, or form (how much of it is pure obsession is yet to be seen). But I'm really curious as to whether Bardugo will use what happened in the end of S&S to decide his ultimate fate. I mean, if it turned Alina's hair white and made her lose her powers (for all we know at this point), what did it do to him? Or did it just make him crazier?

I am sticking to my theory that she somehow counteracts him, like a balance. But I really do not want Alina to end up with Mal. I would rather her end up with Sturmhond than Mal. Though, anything but Darklina is going to make me sulk for days.


Kela Esther Robin wrote: "Sim wrote lol...
Ok, this would be a pretty awesome and adorable workaround :) I do like the idea of the power becoming something that unites them rather than a wedge between them. Then the Darklin..."


I kind of have this sinking suspicion that maybe the Darkling may have all of her power and his? Because if she could reach across and control his creatures and power, couldn't he also reach across and control her power?


message 43: by Kat (new)

Kat Vladimirova Vindictev wrote: "Either that or Mal is a descendant or reincarnation of Ilya Morozova. There must be an explanation as to how he found 2 of Morozova's mythical creatures."
My mind has just been blown. If that happens I will cry tears of joy because THAT MEANS THAT MAL AND ALINA HAVE A CHANCE (sorry but I can't telp holding on to the Malina ship).


message 44: by Kat (new)

Kat Vladimirova Vindictev wrote: "Guys, when Mal connected his fingers around Alina's wrist, that's when the jolt was sent throughout her body. His fingers were basically a cuff around her wrist. Mal should be the Third Amplifier.
..."


If Mal is the third amplifier and has to give up his life for Alina I will light this mother f*ckin book on fire and watch it BURN.


Laura Gabrielle wrote: "id be upset if Mal died, but i prefer the Darkling, Mals to sweet and his type of Jealousy if bugging - however the Darkling when he's Jealous its kinda hot.

I need this next book man!

Also do an..."


Yeah, after Ruin and Rising, Leigh says that she'll write a spin-off series from someone else's POV who's in another country. Alina's story will end, but she might get mentioned a bit.


chrnclesofnadia So everyone's talking about the whole Mal-as-the-third-amplifier thing, but I can't see it. He's obviously got some kind of gift with that whole tracking thing, but I think that's the gift and it ends there. I'm more of a fan of the Darkling and Alina relationship, and I never get into the whole shipping of literary couples. Not my cup of tea. (It always gets sappy. And then I wish everyone would die so everyone could talk about something other than relationships.) Anyway: If Alina took this long to have Summoning develop, there's definitely the possibility for Mal to have the same happen to him. There's no denying it. But I just think it'll complicate everything. Other bases:
1. Nikolai's hiding something.
2. Just because the firebird is in the picture of Morozova--don't murder me-- might not mean that it's actually an amplifier. Granted, the evidence points to it...blahblahblah, but Bardugo does a great job of bringing readers down a trail and then switching the sign pointing right to the left and throwing us all off.
3. One of the boys will have to die. Nikolai, Mal, the Darkling, David...whoever. Someone's going to die, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the Darkling. Maybe he'll be holed up in some dungeon for the rest of his days, but death doesn't seem like an option.
All this being said: I can't wait for Ruin and Rising.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Agreed, totally love David and Genya! It'll be so sweet if he still loves her even though.. well you know..

Anyway. Judging from the ending of S&S, i think that both the Darkling and Alina lost they're power but my theory is that they can only use it when the other is around. So Alina can use her powers and the Darkling's when they're together and vice versa. And I'm also hoping that because of they're "connection" the Darkling won't die (I MEAN HE CANT DIE!?!?) unless of course Alina dies too. I mean the Darkling is a part of Alina whether she wants it or not. And well i'm kinda hoping that Alina goes bad too. I feel kinda guilty for saying it but why not? It'll be a fun twist and like she doesn't have to be like evil or anything but just dark.


Kinga While I was reading the whole thing I got a feeling that Alina might be the Saint Ilya( or whatever the name) or someone else powerful. It is mentioned that she has some deep connection with the Darkling and her past isn't as simple as we thought. So for me there's only the Darkling so far in the picture.
Mal is the typical ya cliche childhood friend turned out to be love of the life. Don't get me wrong, he is important to the story, but not so much.
Nikolai is there but he's still got something up his sleeve.

I wonder what is going to happen if the firebird turns out to be a handsome man ...ah...


Rosalynn WinterRose wrote: "I really feel like if we had the Darkling's POV, it would change so much. (I mean there's a reason Leigh won't give it to us until after the trilogy is over and a reason she said if we had his POV,..."

Ug, this series is leaving me SO CONFLICTED! I shipped Alina and the Darkling way hard in S&B, and even when he turned out to be evil, I still rooted for him and wanted his redemption. I think the thing that kills me now is that I feel like deep down, all he really needs is for someone to love him despite all he's done. I feel like Alina is the only one who could ever hope to understand him, and the same applies the other way around. I'm honestly still shipping them and hoping they end up together.
Mal let me down. I thought in S&S he was going to become this awesome guy who, despite the Darkling's warnings, would come to fully understand and love Alina, powers and all. But... he didn't. He instead became moody and petulant. That ship has sailed, and I really would rather it not come back.
And then there's Nikolai. I love him. I feel like he is such a complex character with levels to his personality that we have yet to see. I am fully on board with this ship (That is, assuming he's still alive). I think he would accept Alina for all she is and has done because I feel that on some level he understands what she's going through, struggling for power while not letting it change you. I ship them as well. I'll really be happy with anyone as long as a) its not mal, or he becomes better b) Nikolai doesn't die (ship or not, he's still one of my fave characters) and c) the Darkling has at least one moment of redemption, whether it be in the actually book or a side novella.


Bipasha Anyone who's abandoned DarklingxAlina ship, to join the nikolai followers... TBFH, JUDGING THOU SO HARD RIGHT NOW.

#why cant we have both


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