Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Grisha, Book Two
Publisher: Indigo
Format: ARC
Published: 6th June 2013
Number of Pages: 400
Book: For Review*
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Tsarpunk, Action-Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Swearing, Death, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Leigh Bardugo

The Darkling cupped my cheek with his hand, and when he spoke, his voice was almost tender. 'This is just the beginning,' he whispered.
Darkness never dies.
Alina thought she could run from her past and escape her destiny. She can't.
Mal hoped he'd done enough to protect the girl he loved. He hadn't.
The Darkling, more powerful than before, is hungry for revenge. He needs Alina.
Soon Alina must choose between her country, her power, and the man she loves - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance. The amazing sequel to Shadow and Bone by New York Times Bestselling Author, Leigh Bardugo.


"What do you want?"
‘Of course, I already knew.  He wanted everything - Ravka, the world, the power of the Fold.  His answer didn't matter… I wasn't going to let him take me again…'
Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling and his Grisha Army.  Why?  Well, just this little thing where the Darkling wants to use Alina's powers to destroy all his enemies – and a few thousand – or more – innocent passers-by…
Also, to be safe – to be together – they have to be as far from the Darkling as humanely possible.  Which is easier said than done when you're dealing with a crazy-strong, just-plain-psycho Grisha.  And he almost has control of Alina again...
Until pirate – sorry, privateer – Sturmhold whisks them away.  He is bold, smart and dangerous – and all too easily bought.  He is hiding a huge secret – and has a future all planned out.  One that involves Alina...  Can they trust him to keep them safe – to do the right thing and help them stop the Darkling?
On top of this, Alina is now Sankta Alina, Saint Alina, the one and only Sun Summoner, the only one who can burn away the evil forces controlled by the Darkling.  The only one who can stop the spread of the Fold – the shadowy land created by the Darkling that is infested with once-human monsters...
Can Alina become the Saint everyone needs her to be?  Can she fight against the darkness that threatens to overwhelm her and her whole country?
And even if she succeeds, what will be the price...?
American Cover
Oh how long and desperately I have waited for Siege and Storm!  And finally, finally, it landed upon my doorstep.  I instantly began reading.  In so many series – especially YA ones – the second book is a huge let down.  Siege and Storm?  A total exception.  It was a squillion times better than Shadow and Bone.  I didn't think it was possible to love this series, this world, these characters and this author any more than I did.  But dear God I do!  I think my heart could just explode from all my love!  Literally from the word go, there was action.  I love action from the word go.  I find nothing holds one's attention better than a few good fights a few pages in.  Wait, what does that say about me?  Nothing good, right...? 
Moving swiftly onto Bardugo's amazing characters.  I obviously loved seeing my favourites – namely Alina, Mal and the Darkling – again: I really do love them!  And I loved seeing so many of the minor characters again.  But what I loved the most was all the new characters.  Oh I loved them so much!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's start with Alina...
All I can say is: go Alina!  Her power: kickass.  Her sense of humour: kickass.  Her wit and snark and fight: kickass.  Her... Ok, you get the picture.  She's an awesome heroine, so funny and strong and stubborn and witty and she just kills me.  Though I've got to admit: I wasn't overly keen about some of her character-changes.  She seems more... greedy.  I know: for the greater good or whatever, but still.  Then again, maybe it was those freaky things' fault...  
Mal... Oh how I love Mal.  He's so sweet and so strong and loyal.  But at times I felt like he was doing things all wrong: if he wanted Alina to trust him, to tell him what was wrong, then why did he storm off?  Why didn't he just stay and talk it out?  It broke my heart, seeing him hurting like that, but why couldn't he just accept?!  
I loved their friendship in Shadow and Bone.  And there were many times in Storm and Siege where that bond just made me grin!   It's the kind of bond you don't come across often – the kind of bond that only comes from a long friendship.  That's why all the bumps, mountains, swamps and deserts made me want to curl up and cry.  Even so, I'm almost ninety percent sure I'm Team Malina.  It changes.  I'm fickle like that.  But look at one of the cute, funny bits which were worth my tears:
"Where were you?" he asked.  "I was getting worried."
"I was waylaid by a gang of angry bears," I murmured into his shoulder.
"You got lost again?"
"I don't know where you get these ideas."
Anyway, speaking of my fickleness: The Darkling... Damn, I don't know what it is about that guy but I can't stop falling for him!  I mean, he's evil.  I know this – honest.  But he’s just... intriguing.  I can't figure him out – no matter how hard I try.  And nor can I stop this obsession I have for him.  As I said in my review of Shadow and Bone, he has a pull – a magnetism – that just captures me.  And I still kind of love him.  I don't know why... It's complicated, ok?  
German Siege and Storm Cover
I must say I wasn't overly happy about many of the character and relationship changes.  In fact, some of them completely broke my heart.  But the new cast made up for that.  And damn if I don't have a new favourite guy in this book.  Captain Sturmhond, come on down and enter my list of Book Boyfriends.  He has the charm, wit and humour of Adrian Ivashkov, the sarcastic snark of Jace Wayland, the hot-pirate-ness of the Captain Jack Sparrow and the dangerous edge of Dimitri Belikov all put together.  He had Darkling-level charisma, just without the guilty, terrifying edge. Plus, he just killed me!  I am now one-hundred percent Team Sturmhond.  I adore him.  And I totally didn't see his secret coming!  I loved the twins Tamar and Tolya too – they were so brilliant and I can't wait to see more of them!
Saints, do I love this world.  It is, quite frankly, the coolest world ever and gets even cooler with every single page you read.  There’s just so much magic!  And then there's the all the sciencey stuff you normally never get in your run-of-the-mill fantasies.  We have pistols, automatic rifles (machine guns?  I suck at weaponry), cannons, flying boats and the Small Sciences – AKA, Grisha's magic.  God, I wanna move to this world and be a Grisha.  Ooh, and be a member of Sturmhold's crew!  Yeah, that would be awesome...
And I adore the writing – it's so lyrical, so beautiful, yet so modern and witty and funny.  I love this blend of classic fairytale and modern day – it's yet another thing I love about this series!  And it always seems to leave me wanting more!  And the plot was freaking kickbutt too.  It was just nonstop action, nonstop thrills, nonstop suspense and nonstop excitement.  I gobbled it up, falling harder in love each time.  And then having my heart totally broken.  Like, numerous times...  But even I didn't see ninety-nine percent of the twists coming – and I pride myself on being able to solve mysteries.  I always guess the killer before the CSI team.  But, god, this book may be three-hundred-odd pages long, but I could just read it all in one sitting!  You know, if I didn't need things like sleep and food and stuff...  And if Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm weren’t so freaking awesome, I’d recommend not reading this series 'til all three are out.  Because the cliffhanger?  Killer!  I mean, I swear that Leigh is either trying to drive me insane or make me burst out sobbing!  I need the next book but I know it isn't coming out for like another year!  Noo!
I wrote a piece here gushing about why the Grisha series is so different and so special.  There are many small reasons that all come together to create the awesomeness.  But there are also many more that I can't even explain.  Maybe it is different because it is just magic.  It has the most exquisitely constructed world, the best-written characters, the most amazing writing and storyline.  And it always always always leaves me desperate for more.  It always leaves me aching, foaming at the mouth, for more: right now.  And that, perhaps, is why it is so special.  It is magic.  It is beautiful.  It is perfect.  
Well, except for that cliffhanger.  How am I meant to make it a whole year with that hanging over my head?!  
Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have a nervous breakdown.  Read the Grisha series- you won't regret it!  You know.  Mostly...

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

* This book was received from Indigo-Orion/TheGuardian in exchange for an honest review

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