Siege and Storm
Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"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."
Siege and Storm is the second installment in Leigh Bardugo's YA fantasy The Shadow and Bone Trilogy.
The characters in the book highly influence how I feel about it, and this quote from the Darkling summarizes it aptly, "You two have a bad habit of acting like fools and calling it heroic." This could be followed up by this swift and brutal comeback - "I don't think-" "Clearly, why start now?"
It is hard to enjoy a book when the characters, as depicted above, just don't think. You have Mal, a character as flavourful as bland toast who is a tracker that kind of sucks at what he does. Can he track well, sure, but can he cover his tracks, apparently not. I felt like Mal was only there for the sake of including a romantic interest for Alina as I felt like he had no personality. Speaking of relationships, their romance had zero chemistry. The first book had Alina being all sulky because of unrequited love but then when it became requited, their romance just seemed so stale.
Baghra on the other hand is what I like to see in a character. In these kinds of books, you always have people trying to be heroes but she couldn't care less about helping Alina and I loved her for that. I rather like characters who don't have a hero complex and think that the world is not worth saving, since it makes a more compelling character than someone like Alina who has no idea what she is doing half of the time but is fumbling around trying to save everyone. As the main character, I would have hoped that Alina would have been a bit more kept together because she was kind of useless... I don't think she should have been in the position of power that she was in because she had no clue what she was doing.
Still though, this was an okay book. I just wish that Mal and Alina's characterization was different.