Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, book #2
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed from Jen at YA Romantics, 2nd ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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, 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.

If I had my way, this is what my review would look like:

 photo c731334b-e283-46ce-aa36-69fddbab0e89_zps09565d60.jpg
Or just lines and lines of this:  Jen + Sturmhond = ♥

I had heard all about this Sturmhond character prior to picking up Siege and Storm, and what I heard left me skeptical.  People were switching teams left and right to ship Alina and this guy.  But...but...but what about The Darkling?  After reading S&S, I'm almost like, "The Darkling, who?"  Oh, he's around...he's always around.  But it's definitely in a much different capacity than it was before.  And then in steps Sturmhond to set Alina on the right path, or at least, his preferred path for her.  ;0)

It's no secret that I wasn't a fan of Mal in Shadow and Bone.  I was all about the Darkling and his enticing, evil ways.  But in Siege and Storm, I found Mal even more obnoxious than before.  He never seemed concerned with what Alina was feeling or what she wanted, only ever thinking of himself and how things affected him.  Listen up, pal...this isn't The Mal Show.  Even still, if these two were better at communicating, I might see a future for them, but with all of the other attractive male counterparts involved, I'm doubtful.  Especially because Mal would like nothing more than for Alina to stop using her powers and live a simple life with him, even though it makes her weak and sick to do so.  Her gift makes her stronger, and I think he's intimidated by that, and ultimately, by her.

The Darkling on the other hand, wants Alina to use her powers.  However malevolent the Darkling may be, he believes he's doing what's right.  He wants Alina for himself, but he also wants her to help him with his heretofore nefarious plans.  There is a bond between Alina and the Darkling, one that is not easily severed or overlooked, and he's probably the only person who truly understands what Alina's enduring.  He was, afterall, the most powerful Grisha prior to the realization that Alina was the Sun Summoner.  The Darkling knows a little something about wielding an obscene amount of power.

tagged proof of highly
engaging banter
Sturmhond was -- and still is, if I'm being entirely honest -- a bit of an enigma.  As a privateer (read:  pirate, since it's very doubtful his actions were sanctioned by the king, *wink*), where do his loyalties really lie?  Will Alina ever be able to fully trust him?  Do we really care when he provides such swoon-worthy banter?  This character -- and he IS a character -- oozes personality and sophistication, and I still would have enjoyed the book without his inclusion, but oh, I enjoyed it so much more because of him.

Alina, for the most part, is just as tortured and confused as we left her in Shadow and Bone.  Maybe more so.  Especially after certain truths were discovered in the Istorii Sankt'ya, and she's left with some difficult decisions.  Her problem, though, is that she shoulders the burden all on her own.  Alina doesn't confide in Mal because she fears she might be losing her mind, which is even more reason to ask for help, but there it is.  And so Alina continues trying to prepare for a war that none of them are ready for, most especially her.

I love fantasy best because it's so unpredictable and magical and full of possibility.  I love the Grisha series so much because the writing encompasses everything I adore in a fantasy novel:  a realm unlike anything I've ever read, dialogue (especially the banter!) that keeps me entertained and makes me forget I'm even reading, and a quest that is at once impossible but also manageable...with the right comrades.  I simply can't get enough of this world and its characters...the wait for Ruin and Rising is going to be absolute torture!

High fantasy.  High stakes.  Highly entertaining.  And I highly recommend both Shadow and Bone (which just released in paperback) and Siege and Storm, which releases on June 4th.  And not just for lovers of fantasy...but for anyone who loves to be transported to a world where magic exists and the struggle between good and evil starts from within.

Rating:   photo 5-1.png

***Big, huge, monster-sized thanks to Jen at YA Romantics for letting me be the first to read her ARC.  I know what that must have meant to her, especially once I received my own ARC.  =)  But also, I wanted to say that it was fated that I should meet and fall for Sturmhond.  I mean, at one point, I had two times the Sturmy in my possession and I was so giddy with the power of it all.  Wonder if this is what Alina feels like with that amplifier on her neck...***

Some of that amusing banter I was telling you about:

     "The Darkling will hunt you for the rest of your days."
     "Well, then we'll have something in common, won't we?  Besides, I like to have powerful enemies.  Makes me feel important."

     "Next time you try something like that, I won't kick you,"  I said furiously.  "I'll cut you in half."
     He brushed a speck of lint from his trousers.  "Not sure that would be wise.  I'm afraid the people rather frown on regicide."
     "You're not king yet, Sobachka," I said sharply.  "So don't tempt me."
     "I don't see why you're so upset.  The crowd loved it."
     "I didn't love it."
     He raised a brow.  "You didn't hate it."

     "Excellent," said [Sturmhond].  "I've come to issue an invitation."
     "Is it to a ball?" asked Mal, snagging the remaining bit of roll from my plate.  "I do so hope it's to a ball."
     "While I'm sure you dance a magnificent waltz, no.  Boar have been spotted in the woods near Balakirev.  There's a hunt leaving tomorrow, and I'd like you to go."

     [Sturmhond] froze.  "I..."  For once, words seemed to have deserted him.  Then a crooked, embarrassed smile crept across his face.  It was a far cry from his usual self-assured grin.  "Thank you," he said.
     I sighed and we resumed our pace.  "You're going to be insufferable now, aren't you?"
     [Sturmhond] laughed.  "I'm already insufferable."

About the author:
Photo by Kevin Rolly

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan), is a New York Times Best Seller and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. Book 2, Siege and Storm, will be published in 2013. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.

Find Leigh:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr


  1. Agree, agree, agree! You have Sturmhond, I have Mal. I think Alina actually did frustrate a little in this book because, as you said, when you're at the point of thinking you're crazy, maybe its time to ask for help. But she kept pulling away! Anyway, I said exactly what you did about how this book really does deliver everything I look for. There was certainly not a dull moment and your picture of tabs prove it :D

    1. Ha, that sounds like a fair trade. :) Alina was frustrating, but I found myself empathizing with her anyway. It's not her fault all this power and fame has been thrust upon her, after all.

  2. I can't wait to read it!!! I love Shadow and Bone ; )

    1. Well, then I know you'll love Siege and Storm. I loved it EVEN MORE than the first book. :D

  3. awesome review. It sound like i really really need to get to this series.

    1. What?!? You haven't read Shadow and Bone yet, Jenn Renee? Well, I've heard the audio is pretty awesome, so if you want to catch up before S&S is released, there's always that option. :)

  4. Ah, there are some characters where I cannot imagine a book being just as grand without. Like Jackal in the Eternity cure, the story won't be the same without him. Characters where you never know where they stand are so fun.

    I'm so excited to meet Strum now; so glad June 4th is in the horizon!

    I read Storm and Bone a long long time ago (last summer) but I remember loving the author's language too, especially the fairy-tale like introduction. I'm happy the writing is just as superb in this book.

    Fabulous review Jen!!!!! Love you tree picture!

    1. I couldn't imagine any of these characters missing, honestly. It just wouldn't have been the same. Still enjoyable, but not the same.

  5. I can't wait for this! I really want to listen to it on audio so I'm hoping they release it the same day. Great great review!

    1. I hear the audio for the first book was awesome. I had really hoped to get to it for a refresher before S&S, but it wasn't necessary.


    Love your heart on the tree. lol I definitely need to catch up on this series. :)

    1. YOU'D BETTER!!! :D felt like the perfect way to express my love for old Sturmy. :P

  7. I haven't started this series yet, but I've heard nothing but good things. Anywho, Mal sounds so annoying-- and wanting her to stop her powers when it hurts her to not use them? Well, I don't see a future for you guys, man. I am interested to find out who "the Darkling" is...

    Awesome review, Jen! (:

    1. Oh, once you meet the Darkling, you'll never look back. That guy is so mysterious and intriguing. :) I hope you have the opportunity to check this series out soon!

  8. I also agree!! I mean, I liked Mal in the first book, but in this book I wanted to punch him in the face. Sturmhond is amazing and I was swooning over a fictional character.

    I got why Alina was pulling away though. She was still very wounded from those she thought she trusted betraying her.

    This book is so good. It was just fantastic!

    1. Yeah, I got why she pulled away, too, but that doesn't mean it was easy to watch, er, read. :) And Sturmhond rules my ♥! :P

  9. I still haven't read Shadow and Bone. *drops head in shame* I promise, I'll read it soon. Like, seriously, soon! I finally, FINALLY, got a bookshelf for Mother's Day! :D It will be built and filled this weekend... then I will be able to actually SEE all of the books that are waiting on me so patiently. Shadow and Bone is one I will most definitely be reading asap... :P

    1. I am so holding you to it, Lisa. This is such a great series! And yay for new shelves! I want to see a pic after they're up and loaded with purty books! :D

  10. Oh my god, I REFUSE to read this review on the basis of that photo. Absolutely refuse. *flounces*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  11. This comes out on my birthday, so I'm taking it as a sign that we're meant to be! I can't wait to meet the insufferable Sturmhond, though hearing that Mal is even more obnoxious is a bit off-putting. (I was totally team Darkling in Shadow and Bone)

  12. I almost broke down reading this, I love the first book that much and can't wait to read this one that much and I have so many feelings, OH MY GOSH. I've heard incredible things about Sturmhond, but it's taken me forever how to spell his name, let alone know how to pronounce it. I gosh, I don't even know where to begin on commenting your review. It's just...GREAT.

  13. Aw, I wouldn't lend my beloved ARC to just anyone…..
    And LOL -- I knew that short version of the review would tick off Wendy D! You better practice some diversionary tactics so you can grab Sturmhond away from her.

    Great review. I can't WAIT for everyone to be able to read this amazing book.

    Jen @ YA Romantics

  14. I ready to fall for Strumhond. I left S&B open to lots paths for Alina...Darkling or Mal. So I'm pretty excited to hear that we shouldn't assume Bardugo is satisfied with formula and is throwing us a curve ball ;)

  15. I swear, I'm going to read this soon!!! I just can't take the wait much longer. I know it's going to be fabulous. Glad you loved it!


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