Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

14061955Series: The Grisha #2
Published by: Indigo
ISBN: 1780621132
ISBN 13: 9781780621135
Published: June 2013
Pages: 386
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five
Related Reviews: The Gathering Dark (The Grisha #1)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is the second in the author’s trilogy, the Grisha, a fantasy young-adult series and one that has surprised me in the past when I reviewed the first book.

The story continues just weeks after The Gathering Dark (also known as Shadow and Bone) with Alina and Mal having moved and living together in hiding, both haunted by the past experiences of the first book, only to soon be interrupted by returning foes.

During the course of the book, their relationship is put to the test as their past and the Darkling catch up with them in a spirally story of twists and turns that manages to live up to the series as well as be more unpredictable in some areas, though perhaps does not exceed the heights of The Gathering Dark.

Their relationship provides the heart of the story and is as gripping as it was in the first book. It’s rare for me to find such a thing so compelling and engaging so this is no small compliment, particularly later in the book when certain choices come to light and left me genuinely uncertain as to which outcome is preferable. This could be read as a love triangle but it certainly didn’t feel like one to me, thankfully.

The Darkling’s role is expanded on significantly and he’s developed both as a character and as far as his abilities go, though he seems pushed aside at points by a new character… which is a pity, as he’s been so complex and layered that the new villain can’t quite compete.

It’s interesting to see how the characters have matured and grown believably from one book to the next. Alina in particular has had to come out of her shell as she struggles to accept who and what she is, which of course leads to her taking a more active role in things. No longer satisfied to run away, she has to turn against her pursuers and grow up to stand any chance of getting what she wants.

The twists are particularly good. You think you know where things are going or who’s going to do what, and then something new comes to light and it completely throws you and leaves you guessing along until the next twist comes along.

There’s a definite improvement in writing in both style and in keeping things concise while still painting very vivid images that come easily to the mind and just about surpassing the heights of the first. This is a more mature book that has grown with the characters and the audience and is all the better for it.

I’ll certainly be looking forward to the third (and final?) instalment, Ruin and Rising, which is currently set for a June 2014 release.

This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 9th January 2014.


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