by Leigh Bardugo
To be published by Henry Holt
on June 4, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed from Around the World ARC Tours and then Macmillan sent me my own. Thanks :)
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Warning: very minor spoilers ahead for book one in the series, Shadow and Bone.
Summary (from Goodreads:) 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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.
My take: First off, this series is a must-read. I'm serious -- these books will appeal to readers who like fantasy, fairy tales, suspense, folklore, and romance. The setting is richly imagined, the characters are fascinating and complex, the story is compelling. What else could you want in a book? It's ALL in here.
As Siege and Storm begins, Mal is perfectly happy in the new "normal" life that he and Alina are attempting, while Alina is wracked with guilt as she remembers the part she played in the events of book one. Alina and Mal try to lie low, but Alina is who she is and … yeah, that's just not going to work. Not using her power makes Alina feel weak and diminished and she's wearing a massive amplifier. Then, our couple crosses paths with a roguish privateer, a guy named Sturmhond, and things start to get really interesting….
I think sequels and later books in series should always introduce new characters who change the dynamics of the story. Sturmhond is a fantastic addition. He's gruff and mercenary, willing to sell his soul to the highest bidder. I love, love, love him. We also meet the dynamic duo of Tolya and Tamar, a pair of fraternal twins. And … excuse me? Oh, right. You're worried that I haven't mentioned the Darkling.
Our fates are intertwined, Alina, and there's nothing either of us can do about that. -- The DarklingNever fear, everyone's favorite Hot Bad Boy does play a role in this book. A different role than he played in the first book, but he'd definitely a major part of the story. The Darkling is such a charismatic character -- sinister and world-weary and yet so utterly compelling. Alina doesn't really feel that she can trust him, and yet he's the only person who really understands the nature of her power. She realizes that she has a mysterious link to him, a fact she decides to hides from Mal.
In another interesting twist, Alina has become famous after the events in Shadow and Bone. There's a sort of Sun Summoner cult that's led by the Apparat. Thus, Alina also has to learn to deal with other people's ideas about her, ideas that will confuse her, pressure her, and confound her. As the people of Ravka and beyond begin to look to her for leadership, she'll have to overcome both her lack of self-confidence and her guilt. She'll have to decide if she can trust those who betrayed her -- and get others to trust her.
Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea. -- SturmhondAlina also discovers a clue in Lives of the Saints that will lead her on a new quest, a way to possibly increase her power. To my complete delight, this also incorporates a well-known Slavic folk tale.
I can't wait for the third book, Ruin and Rising. Will we find out more about Alina's parentage? Are things going to work out with Mal and Alina? Is the Darkling redeemable? Can Sturmhond get any more awesome?
Shadow and Bone just came out in paperback -- with bonus content -- and Siege and Storm will be out on June 4. Definitely put these two on your summer reading list! Are you dying from all the waiting? I feel your pain. Here's some stuff you can do in the meantime:
Download the first five chapters of Siege and Storm for FREE!
I'm thrilled to be part of the Siege and Storm Blog Tour -- Leigh will be stopping by to answer a few questions on Sunday, May 26 -- plus, Macmillan is sponsoring an amazing giveaway!
Check out all the blog tour stops.
See where Leigh will be touring with fellow Fierce Reads authors Anna Banks, Jessica Brody and Emmy Laybourne.
Listen to Winter Prayer, a song inspired by the Grisha trilogy.
Watch the book trailer on YouTube.
Have you pre-ordered your copy of Siege and Storm? If so, send in your receipt and get Siege and Storm branded nail polish! *grabby hands*