Review: Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

14061955Series: Grisha Trilogy
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆

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.

What a disappointment of a sequel. For 425 pages NOTHING HAPPENED. It was just drama drama drama.

Seriously, I’m tired of Alina and Mal. “I love you! Why are you looking at him? Don’t you love me?!?!?!?” It was just them whining at each other about nothing for the whole book. Supposedly they’re in love, but Alina is constantly sure that she’s not pretty enough for him. Ugh! And Mal is jealous of literally every single person in the world. They just argued about nothing. For 400 pages. Ick.

In addition to their relationship being frustrating, Mal and Alina both suck as characters. Neither of them has ANY personality. Mal, who was so intriguing to me in the first book, just turned into a brooding hot-head who punches everyone for no reason. Alina doesn’t have a thought of her own, and is too stupid to figure out how to not be used by every single person around her. Plus, WHY IS SHE STILL SO OBSESSED WITH BEING PRETTY? Is being the most powerful Grisha of all time not enough for her if she isn’t the fairest in the land? AH!

The plot, which had been rather predictable in Shadow and Bone, became non-existent in Siege and Storm. Everything just went in circles. The beginning was especially frustrating. After Alina and Mal’s amazing escape at the end of the first book, by page 10 they were right back where they started, the Darkling’s prisoners. Then there’s another amazing escape, they travel travel travel, train train train, and then right back stuck with the Darkling again. Like I said, nothing really happened.

Grisha aren’t supposed to be magical, they’re somehow using science to do all the crazy stuff they do. In this book that became increasingly difficult to believe. It’s magic. Just call it magic. But then Bardugo introduced MAGIC, which is somehow different? It just felt like a plot device to make the Darkling stronger. It didn’t really make sense.

World building, which was Shadow and Bone’s strongest suit, came to a complete halt. This book really focused on religion, so there was so much potential to dive into that aspect of Ravka’s culture. But Bardugo barely skimmed the surface, just kind of inventing new details as they became relevant to the plot. There were new creatures introduced, but no descriptions given, no explanation to whether there are more, nothing. I would have loved to know more about the sea snake other than that his scales were rainbow colored. Not enough. Not enough at all.

The only redeeming aspect to me was the new character, Nikolai. He was funny and clever, and even if Bardugo had to turn it into a love square (commence eye rolling) I found myself rooting for him. At least he’s interesting. At least he has a personality.

The end, however, left me hopeful that book 3 will start headed in a more plot-driven direction, and that maybe something will actually happen. So I guess I’m picking that up next. But for now, this is not a series I would recommend to teens or adults. The first book maybe, but not the series.

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