Thursday, February 11, 2016

Audiobook Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) 
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 

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Reviews for book 1 and book 3

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.

When I finished reading Shadow and Bone recently, I was pretty irritated with myself for waiting so long to start this series. This book has left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'm still really upset with myself for missing out on such an amazing story for so many years. On the other hand, I'm SO excited that I get to binge all three books in a row without having to wait a year in between! So, yes, this book was incredible too.

Siege and Storm picks up right where the first book left off. Mal and Alina are together and trying to live a simple life far away from the Darkling and his Grisha. Having successfully evaded capture, they seem to be doing a decent job of this. Then they're found and just as suddenly as they found freedom, they're back in the hands of the Darkling and are quickly making their way back across the sea. On the way, though, Alina meets new people and finds help in some pretty unlikely places. Help from those who also want to defeat the Darkling and put an end to his evil agenda.

In the second book in The Grisha series, Alina has found herself with even more power than she ever thought possible. Despite that, she is still an incredibly sympathetic character and I loved her maybe even more than I did in book one. It's easy to understand why she feels she has to do the things she does and why she needs the power that she takes for herself. Alina's goal in life seems to have transformed. She wants to save her country from destruction and she needs every ounce of power and every bit of loyalty she can get if she has any chance of succeeding. But guess who doesn't understand this?

Dan Humphrey Mal is the one who doesn't seem to get it, and now I can put my finger on why I didn't care for him in Shadow and Bone. Dan Mal is the worst kind of love interest there could possibly be in a book. He's the kind of guy who cannot deal with the woman he loves being anything other than what he wants her to be. It has become very obvious throughout the course of these two books that Dan Mal doesn't love Alina, he loves the idea of Alina. Did he love her when they were living a life in hiding and posing as normal people? Yep. And he treats her like dirt from the second she claims the power she's going to need to defeat the Darkling. As far as I'm concerned, Dan Mal can take his crap right out of Ravka and leave Alina to someone who deserves her.

And wouldn't you know it? There's a third option. Sturmhond is a pirate privateer who has mad skills in pretty much everything. He also happens to have connections in high places and is just the person Alina needs to make sure she is able to do everything she can to save her country. Sturmhond is, of course, gorgeous, and while it isn't really hammering anyone over the head, he is definitely another option for Alina's end game (I would not be devastated). I really enjoyed him and the other characters who came along as his crew.

"But what about the Darkling?" you ask. Well, he's there. There's just much less of him because this book is primarily about Alina, Mal, and Sturmhond preparing to kick his Darkling butt. I loved watching as Alina really came into her own and took control of the things she needed to win. I loved everything about this book, to be honest. Again, Leigh Bardugo has done an amazing job of adding even more to this world and making it totally engrossing. I really never want to leave! Once again, I loved every single scene with The Darkling. I honestly cannot make myself hate him and I'm not sure what's wrong with me! I'm STILL not convinced that there isn't good in him.

Siege and Storm was 200% incredible! I have read so many middle books in trilogies that suffered from middle book syndrome and made me seriously question reading the next one. This book only makes me want to read Rise and Ruin as soon as possible! (And I have a copy sitting in the next room, so I think I'll do that today!)