My Thoughts While Reading Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone Series #2) by Leigh Bardugo

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The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.

Time for the next book in the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo, which is Siege and Storm. If you have not read Shadow and Bone first, or my thoughts while reading that book I would recommend it prior to continuing on with this post. As I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Siege and Storm in this post along with my overall thoughts of the book (spoiler free in that section).

The list still remains the same on my prior knowledge going into the series that I learned through TikTok and Six of Crows. I did take off the ones that were already revealed in the first book:

  • Nikolai is Sturmhond (the Privateer) and becomes the King of Ravka.
  • Alina dies at the end of the series or at least it’s hinted at in Six of Crows that she is dead.
  • Alina ends up with Mal, but also had a romance with the Darkling (I’m leaving this here purely in case something changes also it lets me know both characters make it to the final book).
  • Alina is one of the most powerful Grisha ever to exist (we’ve been shown some of her abilities, but she was only starting to come into her own at the end of the previous book so I’ll leave this for now).

Book Details

  • Title: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  • Originally Published: June 4, 2013
  • Print Length: 435 pages
  • Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner―hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice―and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Thoughts While Reading

The book starts out with the Darkling finding Alina and Mal, not surprising. And they go on board of Sturmhold’s ship, I was expecting Nikolai to make an appearance but not within the first few pages. And yes, I still love him even if he’s at odds with everyone else so far. I’m not sure what his angle is other than money at the moment, but that’s not surprising.

The Darkling has another plan of getting a second amplifier to the Morozova stag one, an ice dragon called Rusalye, and is keeping Mal alive to track it. So, he can once again use that with the previous amplifier to control the Fold. Apparently, Alina’s amplifier is the only one to have a second half. Most likely if the Rusalye is killed by the Darkling, then he’ll be able to control her powers. Unless there’s some intervention again like in the stag’s case. Nikolai also stops the Darkling from torturing Alina to get Mal to agree to tracking the dragon. Which Mal manages to do in a week’s time, but Nikolai uses that as an opportunity to free both Mal and Alina onto a different ship of his. Or rather capture them to take them to his real client. One they can chose to assist or not. Nikolai doesn’t care. They also manage to get the ice dragon for Alina, which she does kill for the amplifier with Mal’s help.

Nikolai also gives Alina the book that a priest once gave her, that has an illustration of the beasts that make up her amplifiers. Turns out there weren’t two in the set but three. Alina also isn’t sure what to do with the scales at first, as all previous readings on the subject discuss a Grisha only having one, not two and certainly not three. If she got all three, then yeah she would be the most powerful Grisha ever. And considering she goes through with turning the scales into a bracelet amplifier, she’s on her way.

Before the ice dragon was captured, the Darkling warns Alina that she’s exactly like him. Most likely she would live for centuries with the amount of power she has, and no one else would understand her. Mal would die before she did and eventually the only one who understood her would be the Darkling. She tries to ignore that warning, but every time she’s around Mal his words echo in her head, “He can never understand your power, and if he does, he will only come to fear you.”

When they get to West Ravka, Nikolai takes them ashore on his flying ship then into the Fold to hunt the beasts within. Alina manages most of the trip until she started hearing human cries and the Darkling appearing. They all manage to get out and then Sturmhold reveals his true self as Nikolai. This results in him being the client, and pleading Alina to help him save Ravka. Including his bid for the throne. Considering, I know there was a civil war, I have a feeling his older brother isn’t going to allow that to happen so easily. If the civil war doesn’t refer to the Darkling. He also asks Alina to marry him, with Mal being her personal guard. Alina turns down the offer and instead asks to lead the Second Army (Grisha). He agrees to this, and teaches her on the way back to the capital everything about leading.

Mal of course is pissed off at Nikolai for going after Alina. And the two have a strained relationship after that. Nikolai also kisses Alina, but she kicks him twice the second they are away from the crowd. When they reach the capital, they are greeted by Nikolai’s older brother and taken to the King. He reluctantly puts Alina in charge of the Grisha temporarily and allows Mal to live by dishonorably discharging him from the First Army. And Alina is faced with opposition within the Grisha about her lead. She cuts the roof of the dome in half and give them a choice of following her (staying) or leaving by the end of the night. Honestly, could’ve been a lot worse for both of them. They did both desert and Alina did help the Darkling (although forced) in the Fold to destroy a Ravkan entire city.

Alina, Nikolai and Mal work the court and armies from different angles. However, this manages to push Alina further away from Mal as her obsession with finding the firebird/third amplifier increases. Along with the fact that she is seeing the Darkling every where she goes. Something she doesn’t tell anyone about. However, this also leads her to get closer to Nikolai as they are almost constantly in meetings together. I know they don’t end up together, but I can see a nice friendship between the two. And I understand Mal’s frustrations. He doesn’t have a place there. He has no purpose and the one thing he cares about, is either too busy for him or flinches when he tries to be intimate as she’s seeing visions of the Darkling (undenounced to him).

But Alina does succeed in getting the Grisha to mingle between the ranks, and working on combining the First and Second Army together. Including the creation of dishes that help magnify her powers in a way like mirrors. So, if the Darkling attacks, she can better fight them off. It’s interesting to see how the two combine. And in this it makes sense that it’s Small Science, not magic. Granted, I saw that angle while reading Six of Crows duology, but it was nice to see it explored in another angle in this series.

However, all of that hard work is undone as Nikolai’s older brother opens the border to Fjerda which allows the Darkling in. He attacks the palace, but the warning bells come too late. All but three Grisha die in the attack, and they barely manage to escape. They make it to a chapel where Alina learns that the Darkling had been there every time she saw him. And she tells the others to leave without her, deciding to kill the Darkling and herself using the shared connection they have from the collar around her neck. Alina almost manages to succeed in this, but Mal comes back for her and takes her down into the tunnels. Her hair has turned white and she cannot summon sun anymore. Either due to her weaken state or something else when she tried to take out the Darkling.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed Siege and Storm, but I feel like this book I would’ve had a very different experience had I not known anything regarding the final state between Mal and Alina, or who Sturmhold actually was. As I know that Alina doesn’t end up with Nikolai, and somehow Mal and Alina will fix whatever issue is going on and get back together. So, all the main conflict short of the ending with the Darkling didn’t really sink in for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t put this book down. But I feel like all the twists, and drama of the book were kind of ruined for me. Still good, but not as impactful as it could’ve been for me.

So, to me this book almost felt like a lot of “filler” content. Something to get you from the first book to the last, but not a lot actually going on. When there was. But it was mostly relationship building/tension (most of it I couldn’t get too invested in personally as I knew how things were going to turn out in the last book), and then preparation for a fight that was over before it begun. Basically, just set up for the real battle in the final book of the series.

Which is why I’m giving Siege and Storm a 3.75 star rating out of 5. I have a feeling, if I had no knowledge going into this book I would’ve rated it higher. But that’s not the experience, I had. So, I’m going to rate it the way I experienced it as that’s how this book is going to forever live in my brain.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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2 Comments

  1. October 14, 2020 / 7:19 PM

    I hate when the book seems like only a bridge between other books in the series without a story to tell on its own. Another lovely review, Mae. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mae Polzine
      Author
      October 14, 2020 / 7:38 PM

      I feel like it wouldn’t have been if I didn’t have any of that foreknowledge, but because I did it came off that way. As there were a lot of things that could’ve been interesting twists and on the edge of the seat things, but to me they didn’t hit the mark as I knew how it turned out already.
      ♥ Mae

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