Alina Starkov has escaped the Darkling and his dream of using the Fold to wage war on Fjerda and Shu. But running away from the Darkling is not as easy as it seems. Following the Sun Summoner and the tracker, Siege and Storm continues the story of the Grisha and the darkness that the war is bringing.
Compared to Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm lacks the action aspect of a fantasy novel. The first book felt like riding a bullet train, Siege and Storm felt like being in a car stuck in traffic. If Shadow and Bone is there to introduce everyone to the world of Grisha, Siege and Storm is here to set and make everyone familiar to the larger world of the magical elite.
There are only about 10% of action and fast-paced adventure in this book. The first 5% delivers the action and adventure however, it does not last for long. The heart-stopping action scenes make their appearance in the first few chapters but eventually get lost in the cloud of Alina’s personal drama. The last 5% is bloody and action-packed that will make you chase your breath. Other than the first and last parts of the book, everything moved slowly.
Rather than it being a fantasy novel with a lot of action, this one is full of talking, politics, and inner conflicts. With the plan to defeat the Darkling, the story revolves around the planning and how they would execute the plan. The characters are playing a game where they are gambling their lives and we, the readers, are here to watch the game unfold.
This is more of a character study of Alina than being a fast-paced action, compared to the first book. It is great to get inside the head of the main character and see her character slowly decay and spiral into the darkness where the Darkling is leading her. Leigh Bardugo writes amazing characters and Alina is not an exemption. Her character is rich, she makes logical decisions and actions when it comes to facing a conflict. It really is interesting to see the “Like calls to like” concept be integrated into Alina’s relationship with the Darkling. In this book, the similarities of Alina and the Darkling is being highlighted. And eventually, the differences between the two become clear.
One great thing about Siege and Storm is the new set of characters. Nikolai, Tamar, and Tolya are exceptional characters. They are interesting and essential to the plot. They are not just there to be side characters, they matter just as much as the next character. Characters from the first book are also included like Nadia, Marie, Zoya, Genya, and David. These characters are great and interesting individually and when put together, they dynamic is amazing and amusing. Bardugo knows how to write engaging dynamics and relationship between the characters.
Of course, with the introduction of a new male character, he also becomes involved with Alina, making the romance aspect of the story more complicated. This book, like what is stated above, is like a character study and this includes the relationship of Alina with people around her. The Alina/Mal relationship thickens and they face different conflicts that make their relationship rocky. We all know that Bardugo is a great writer, she makes the world and the characters alive. To add to that, she writes amazing romance. The lines and the emotions are raw and it is easy to be dragged in the romance because of her writing. The angst is real and I am so here for it. There are times that I would catch myself breathing heavily and closing the book for a couple of minutes because of the pain that comes with angst. And yes, that is good pain.
Siege and Storm is not as exciting as the first book, however it is still important to the trilogy. With the arrival of new characters, the unveiling of vital information, and as Alina’s powers become stronger each second, the plot thickens and this eventually bridges us to the conclusion of the story.