Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Rating: 5 Stars
Darkness never dies. 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 AM IN MOURNING. Which is why I crawled out of my hole to post this review on my blog.
Not only am I mourning that awful cliffhanger and the fact that I won't get to read the next book until next year, I am mourning Mal, Alina, Genya, David, and all the other characters that Bardugo has mercilessly tormented throughout this book. I've never had my emotions manipulated so harshly before. This book is more scarring than a bad breakup. And seriously, what is with all the attractive but damaged men in this book? I guess you just can't have it all.
If you follow my reviews, you probably noticed that there was a lot of this:
In between all the crying, though, I forgot to mention that there was also a lot of this:
To be honest, Shadow and Bone didn't make that much of an impression on me. The only things I really remember about it are Russians and the Darkling turning out to be more than a fancy vampiric incarnation. This sequel, I suspect, will stay with me much longer. Like its predecessor, I got through it all within two days. If there's one thing that Bardugo does perfectly, it's her pacing. It's not extremely fast or slow, it's Goldilocks's ideal porridge.
Where Shadow and Bone was tamer, more of an introduction of all the things that the characters of Alina's world were capable of, Siege and Storm dives right in, beginning with the Darkling resurfacing and a romp on a couple of different boats. Immediately, you have to appreciate the world Bardugo has created and the intricacy of each aspect, from the mythical creatures that roam it and the elaborate hierarchy of the Grisha and royalty. I must say, I love the names she's created for each part of her world. They make me want to visit Russia and make me momentarily forget that if I do visit, I won't be able to say anything besides "Da, Kapitan." In between all the political intrigue and fighting, Mal and Alina get their moments. But these moments are so fleeting, I was always left wanting more, and that was basically what tortured me throughout the entire book. It's like watching a slow-motion car crash; you see the void widening, yet all you can do is helplessly read on. Anyway, the problem of the Darkling explored in the first book basically lays eggs and expands to horrifying proportions, but I'll let you all enjoy the gory details when you read the book, though I feel like I'm discouraging people from reading it...
I love Mal. I really do.
“No, Alina. You came here for Ravka. For the firebird. To lead the Second Army.” He tapped the sun over his heart. “I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation."
How can you not love him? Even in the end when he was pissing me off, I still loved him. I must add that the end with Alina and him really disappointed me. I just want someone (preferably Leigh Bardugo herself) to tell me that this isn't true and that they'll get their happy ending. But what are the chances of that? I mean, all hell has broken loose. There's no way. "The love she always thought would guide her." God, I'm so bitter and sad right now. To all the people who are shipping the Darkling and Alina, you guys are so twisted. He's psychotic. Yet there are parts of him that are disturbingly human, and it's just AUGH. It's freaky. Oh yeah, and while I'm extolling the males in this book, Sturmhond. Nikolai. Hohoho. Alina can take Mal. I'll take him. He's a bit confusing, and we're never too sure what his intentions are, but he's really got the cocky thing down. I look forward to a further exploration of his personality in the next book. That is, if Bardugo doesn't kill him off before that happens... She's getting a bit bloodthirsty and power hungry. Like Alina! Hahahaha. Bad joke. Okay. Moving on.
Alina is such a strong character. I'm not really a fan of the whole there is darkness within me and I'm sinking into it but there's nothing I can do struggle. But Bardugo maintains this balance between Alina's darkness and her determination that I couldn't help but admire her and go NOOOO *sob* when bad things happened because of her. Through her actions, I could understand the huge burden placed on her shoulders and how hard it was on her to make everyone happy, how the knowledge of how she was to be responsible for an entire world was eating her up inside. She's stupid, fearless (though it could be argued that those two are the same thing), determined, and strong. She is really the driving force behind this entire book, and so, so human.
There are fewer light-hearted moments in this book, though there were still snatches of dialogue that made me laugh. Part of me wishes for those simple, happy moments between Mal and Alina to be back, but I know that those are gone. The awful cliffhanger can attest to that. Also, I've heard rumors of a fourth book... Which only means my suffering is going to be prolonged another year. Shit is going down, and I want a front row seat. If you want one too, I suggest you read this book immediately and pester Bardugo until she has no choice but to urge her publishers to hurry up.
P.S. Never ever entrust your nation to someone named Vasily.
P.P.S. Apologies for any harsh words or incoherency in this review. I am not in the most eloquent of states right now.
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