Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 4th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Buy on Amazon

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. 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.

Siege and Storm continues the enchanting story of Alina, Mal, and the Darkling, in their world full of danger and secrets. Starting with a bang, we’re reacquainted with Alina and Mal trapped in a less than stellar situation on the Darkling’s ship. This is sure to immediately captivate any fan of the series, pulling us again in this magic-filled story of the Sun Summoner. It didn’t take long until the characters carved their way into my heart again. I wasn’t as impressed with this sequel as I was with Shadow and Bone, but the characters are still as charming as ever, and the world building is simply fantastic.

In an action packed beginning, we meet a new mysterious character that becomes quite a big part of this sequel. However, I was saddened by how he seemed to replaces the Darkling. He’s not an enigma like the Darkling – even though he does give off that vibe quite a bit – nor is he even close to being as charismatic, so sadly it did not compensate for the Darkling being MIA for 90% of this novel. While the latter does make sporadic mysterious appearances, the absence of this mysterious villain was my biggest letdown during this book. His personality and the atmosphere he infused in Shadow and Bone had me equally frustrated and mesmerized, so I felt like I was left with a void. A void I’m thinking this new character was supposed to fill but unfortunately did not quite get there for me. The fact that Mal never made any real connection with me surely did not help either as he is also a large part of this book. I do like his character, but he doesn’t exactly do anything for me emotionally or romantically. Nonetheless, as far as characters go, we do get a slew of fantastic secondary characters who don’t miss the mark in this sequel. They give the book a lot of personality. There is a large number to keep track of, though; it can take a bit of mental effort to keep  everyone straight, especially if it’s been a while since reading the first book.

After this action packed beginning at sea, we revisit this monster-filled world full of war and magic. I loved learning more of the world, especially more about Alina’s powers and what she is trying to become. I was hoping for more actual plot progress, however. The placing slows to a crawl mid-book, switching to a relationship and character heavy novel. It’s great to see Alina come into herself, figuring out who she is, who she needs to be, but I would be lying if I said this was very exciting. As much as I love character development, I found myself restless with the lack of action. High fantasy is a genre that is a bit out of my comfort zone, though – I was even surprised by how much I loved the first book – so I’m convinced that those with a passion for fantasy won’t mind this at all.

It begins with a bang, and it ends with one as well. The ending finally brings us back the Darkling (yehaw!) for an exciting and action filled climax. I loved how bold it was, as well as how serious it quickly became. Death and emotion are not missing from it, neither is the promise of an exciting conclusion in the third book. As I said, this genre is a hard sell for me, the first novel’s action packed plot reeled me in; the loss of magic in this sequel is due to a personal taste rather than a reflection on the book itself. Leigh is an incredible writer and I have no doubt she will catch the hearts of all fantasy lovers yet again!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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31 Responses to “Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo”

  1. Christina

    You are a much bigger Darkling fan than I am. New guy is totally better than every other character put together for me. LOVE HIM SO HARD. Don’t worry, Giselle. The Darkling will be back in the third book, and he will mean serious business.

    • Giselle

      BLAH! And I don’t love the Darkling as a love interest though, I just love the atmosphere and mystery surrounding his character – he’s a great villain. I like this new prince (he’s a prince right? I read this so long ago) better than Mal though. Mal bores me.

  2. Melanie

    I bought Shadow and Boke recently after all the rave reviews it’s been receiving. I love the sound of this world. I see you like the Darkling. I haven’t heard much love for him but he does sound mysterious!

    Brilliant review, Giselle! <33

  3. bookittyblog

    I started reading the first book but I was so confused I stopped. I love fantasy but for some reason I didn’t click with Shadow and Bone. Maybe I should go back and try it again.

  4. Amy

    I feel like I am one of the only people who hasn’t read Shadow and Bone. This series sounds really good though. I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but I do like some of it and I think this series would be one that I would.

  5. The Teen Book Guru

    I’m dying to read this! Yay you liked, it, but it sucks that the Darkling wasn’t there for the majority of the book. :/ Haha, but yes I agree him as a love interest is all sorts of wrong, but he is just such a intriguing character! I actually like Mal, but I can understand how you find him boring. He’s okay though… but like on the border of going from ‘MEH’ to ‘BORING, WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE’. AAAAH I love Fantasy! It’s one of my most-loved genres. :’) So fingers crossed I like this one. <3 FABULOUS REVIEW GISELLE!! XD I'm so psyched for this book I can't even begin to tell you <3 x

  6. Faye M.

    I’ve been hearing people talk about this Sturmhold character like he’s the next Messiah haha. So far, the reviews I’ve seen has been mixed. I really really hope that I’ll love this as much as the first one, although coming to think of it, I can barely remember what happened in Shadow and Bone D:

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  7. Megan K.

    I’m with you! I found it harder to get into the book than it was with Shadow and Bone, but I still loved this so much! Still a firm Mal-supporter, but with Sturmhond around… hmm. 😉 Hopefully Leigh does something amazing in the final book, because that ending nearly killed me.

  8. Nick

    I’m currently reading this book and I have to say that I agree with you. It definitely isn’t as good as the first book because it’s less action-packed around the middle. I definitely enjoyed getting to know some of the new characters. The Prince guy was a great addition to the story.
    I’m glad that you enjoyed this even though fantasy isn’t your kind of thing.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  9. Soma Rostam

    Well, I have heard a LOT about this series and how great it is
    It definitely is interesting and the characters look so good and three dimensional
    But sadly, it’s my senior year and I have to start preparing. ALL THAT CRAP!
    So I hope that I have time to read this
    GREAT review, sweety!
    Your reader,

  10. Jenea Whittington

    I am so bummed about the Darkling not being a big part of this one, but I am happy to know that we learn more about the world an all. So that’s a bonus for me. Wonderful review.

  11. Alexa Y.

    We actually had completely opposite reactions to this book – I LOVED IT. I do agree that there was a bit of a lull in the middle of it, but that didn’t stop me from loving Alina, Mal and everyone else. I’m also a big fan of that new character! But I’m glad that you still enjoyed it 🙂

  12. Candace

    Oh I loved the new guy! I felt his awesome personality made up for the Darkling not being as present. I didnt feel he REPLACED him but he was just as awesome (well more awesome since he seems to be a good guy) and he was very fun to read about. I’m sorry it didn’t work as well for you.

  13. Siiri

    I haven’t read the first book yet, but I’m a bit confused by the reviews I’ve seen. Is this Darkling guy like a love interest or a villain? Or a mix of them? I don’t know how I feel about that since I don’t like Warner from Shatter Me series and he is both. I’m sorry your didn’t enjoy this one that much though, but I’ve seen others enjoying it a lot so I hope you’ll love the third installment better and it’ll be more to your liking:)

    • Giselle

      He’s the villain, but he’s also showing interest in the MC but I don’t like him as a potential love interest, I love him as a villain. He gives the book such a mysterious vibe. His characterization is great you will see when you read book 1! 🙂

    • Siiri

      Oooh, I’m definitely intrigued now. I see people like missing him and this potential love story etc and then you say he’s a villain. I was like ‘wut? where did that come from’ 😀 Thank for clearing it up. At least now I know what people are talking about. I saw that he was chosen as one of the guys for the YA Crush Tourney so he must have a pretty big fanbase of sorts. I’m afraid he’s the next Warner, that’d pretty much ruin the series for me so I hope he’s not a psychopath lol. Just an evil, mysterious guy with some evil, mysterious plans — yes please!

  14. Aneeqah

    I’m glad that even though you’re not a high fantasy fan, you managed to enjoy this one. Honestly, I don’t think anything could live up to the first book for me, so I’m not very surprised that you didn’t like this one more than S&B. 😉 I’m intrigued by this characters who ‘attempts’ to replace the Darkling, although I think our favorite villain is pretty irreplaceable, to be honest. I’m a big Mal fan, though, so I don’t think I would find the parts with him as dull as you did.

    Amazing review, as always, Giselle! <3

  15. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I just scanned this since I’m reading it right now but The Darkling is a big douche so I was glad Sturmhond kicked his butt. I do like The Darkling in an evil intriguing way but I’m in love with Mal. Everyone seems to be in love with Sturmhond and while he is cracking me up I’m not really seeing the swooning…

  16. Ariella Lee

    Whoa.. this is actually the first not-five-star review I’ve read of this. Everyone was saying there’s this new guy who’s really funny and charismatic. I don’t know if I’ll like this one but I’m looking forward to picking this one up soon. Shadow and Bone was meh for me and I didn’t love Mal much as a love interest. I’ll see how this one goes 🙂 Great review, Giselle!

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

  17. Amanda

    My biggest fear in reading Siege and Storm (which I can hopefully start at the end of this week) is that I won’t remember everything from Shadow and Bone. I need to find a really good recap somewhere, especially as it sounds as though Bardugo is really adding so much more to her world and characters in the new book! I do consider myself a fantasy fan, so I hope I don’t feel bogged down in the middle the way that you did, but I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see! Even though fantasy isn’t your favorite genre, I’m glad you still were able to find ways to appreciate this book and its predecessor. I hope the third book makes the difficulties you had with this one more than worth it. 🙂

  18. Eileen

    Oh noo I love The Darkling he’s so compelling and layered! D:D: I’m sorry that the new guy that came in didn’t really compensate for the fact that The Darkling was gone for most of the book D: Now I’m not as excited for this one because my first main concern was having to learn the fantasy terms all over again, and now my second concern is this Darkling absence issue. However, I’m really happy that you thought the ending and beginning was well done, and that the characters got close to you again 🙂

    Fantastic review!

  19. Molli Moran

    Awww, too bad this one sorta fizzled a bit for you, Giselle. I LOVED it (and by loved, I mean I cried my eyes out.) haha. I think it’s very much that I am a devoted Mal/Alina shipper, so their growing pains hurt my heart a little bit. I did enjoy seeing her becoming her own person, but at times that made me so sad/mad to see the toll it was taking on her, and some of the decisions she made.

    Re: new character. MARRY ME PLEASE.

    I’m sure there will be more Darkling in Rise & Ruin!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  20. Aman

    Ahh! I really need to start this series! I’ve heard so many great things about it, especially the darkling. I can’t wait to find out more about it. Lovely review, Giselle! It’s good that even if high fantasy is not your fave genre, you still enjoyed Siege and Storm.

  21. teenagebookcritic.com

    I am ashamed to say that I have not read this series yet. I myself do not like High Fantasy much – I think it’s because once you’ve read The Lord of the Rings you’ve read just about every book in the subgenre. One High Fantasy I did like was Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Although the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, was more of a paranormal romance, book two switched into all out epic fantasy storytelling. I saw that you reviewed that book highly as well.

    Getty Hesse


  22. Wendy

    I’m starting Siege right now! So I haven’t read the review but will stop by after reading it to see what you thought!