Siege and Storm is the second book in the Grisha trilogy, so this review contains some spoilers for Shadow and Bone. You have been warned.
SIEGE AND STORM SYNOPSIS
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.
I enjoyed Siege and Storm quite a bit more than Shadow and Bone but I thought that it was a little bit of an unnecessary book. As with Shadow and Bone, my main issue with this second instalment is the lack of plot. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel and the amount of action that was in it. Almost straight away, we are thrown into conflict between Alina and the Darkling and I thought this section was thrilling and exciting. However, this is then followed by a long period of inaction and the plot doesn’t move forward at all. There is an epic encounter at the end of the book but these 30-50 pages don’t make up for the long stretch of nothingness that was Siege and Storm.
Nothing new is really learnt in this book. We make one or two important discoveries at the beginning and end of the book, but the rest of the book added nothing new to the world or the overall story arc of the trilogy. There is some mention of magic vs the ‘small sciences’ that the Grisha are known for practicing, but there wasn’t enough of it for me to latch on to and be excited about. Hopefully this will be explored further in Ruin and Rising. Most of Siege and Storm is spent exploring the tensions between Alina and Mal, and while I like the two together, I wanted less romance and more Grisha action.
Alina still remains weak as a character but I enjoyed her a lot more in this second book. There’s not very much development in her in this book, but I found her to be slightly more likeable. There were still times when I thought she was boring and frustrating, but there’s a lot more focus in this book on the characters and Alina’s internal struggles, which made it easier for me to relate to her. I appreciated being able to learn more about Alina and I liked her moments of assertiveness (though sometimes it felt a little bit out-of-character).
The character that declined a little for me was Mal. He became really whiny and needy and he was a bit of a jerk at times. But I ended up still liking him because I can see where it’s all coming from. The Darkling only made very small appearances in Siege and Storm and I wished we could have seen a little bit more of him. He’s one of the most interesting and dynamic characters in the trilogy and I wanted to know more about him. His character in this novel became a little bit flat and I felt like there was nothing more to him than just your everyday evil, power-hungry villain.
Siege and Storm saw the addition of some really great new characters and I liked these characters the most in the book. We have Sturmhond who is amazing. He reminded me a lot of Will Herondale in his attitude and behaviour and I loved him! I did guess his identity quite early on though. I also loved the twins, Tolya and Tamar. They were fantastic additions to the book and provided many great moments. I also liked being able to see more of David in this book – he was one of my favourite side characters in Shadow and Bone. David and Genya is probably the only ship that I fully support in this trilogy, at this point.
Siege and Storm is definitely a step up from Shadow and Bone. I enjoyed and was much more interested in the characters in this instalment and I liked the changes to the Grishaverse. What I’m still missing in this book is action and plot. Like Shadow and Bone, this book suffers from lack of development in the overall story arc. The book was great but it hasn’t really taken us anywhere…