Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 4586
As Amazing as Shadow and Bone Is, Siege and Storm Blows It Out of the Water
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
What I loved:
Shadow and Bone was one of my favorite reads of 2012, which means that I approached Siege and Storm with a combination of trepidation and flailing excitement. With time, I couldn't remember the specifics of what made Shadow and Bone such a good read for me, read nearly a year ago, during my trip to New York for BEA. Now I remember: Leigh Bardugo's writing is freaking outstanding in every respect.

Where Shadow and Bone followed much more typical fantasy plot lines, Leigh Bardugo really goes her own way in Siege and Storm. Generally, I have a fair sense for where a series is headed in the end, even if I don't know precisely the steps along the way. In Siege and Storm, I never knew where the characters would go next or where they would end up in the end, but whenever anything happened, I felt this rightness, and gaped slackjawed at the book, impressed yet again with Bardugo's ideas.

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone left off, with Mal and Alina on the run, trying to escape Ravka and the reach of the Darkling. To the surprise of no one, they do not get very far away before the Darkling appears, much to the excitement of fangirls everywhere. The Darkling has a plan: to find another amplifier for Alina, since Morozova's amplifiers can be worn together. Thus, they set off on a ship captained by a dashing privateer (aka a classy pirate) to hunt an ice dragon. I expected this to be a huge portion of the plot, but it ends fairly quickly, which I was sad about for approximately half a page, but then even cooler things happened. But, to find out what, you're going to have to read the book for yourself.

Now, when I read Shadow and Bone, I proudly proclaimed myself a big fan of the Darkling, never having forgiven Mal for his early behavior and not finding his chemistry with Alina nearly as captivating. Well, I have changed my allegiance. My favorite guy is now Sturmhond. You may be thinking, Bardugo added ANOTHER love interest? So lame and unnecessary! I understand if you are, but stop thinking that right now. Sturmhond, the privateer, is one of my favorite literary characters, and totally knocked the Darkling from my affections in one fell swoop. He has the swagger and humor of Captain Jack Sparrow, combined with a sober, calculating intellect. Every single line of his is perfection, either hilarious, swoon-inducing, or cleverly changing the subject. My love for him knows no bounds.

Alina continues to be an intriguing main character, alternatingly weak and drunk on power. When she doesn't use her powers, she's weak, wan and insecure, living in Mal's shadow. Almost more than fighting the Darkling or political factions, Alina battles herself. The amplifier and the connection to the Darkling have changed her from the girl she used to be, putting her sanity and her relationship with Mal potentially in jeopardy. The more she comes into her power of light, the more the darkness within her stands out in sharp relief. The choices she has to make are tough ones, and she has no ideal options.

The Final Verdict:
Bardugo cements herself as a writing talent in Siege and Storm. Her plotting, writing and characters are all excellent, and the story moves along at a swift pace. Ruin and Rising, which is the perfect title for the third book by the way, is poised to be the strongest, most heartbreaking book in the trilogy, and I need it in my life as soon as possible. This series is a must for fantasy fans, ages young adult and up.
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