Siege and Storm
(The Grisha Trilogy #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. 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.
Eliana’s Opinion :
Because of my overall lackluster experience with the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s promising dark fantasy trilogy, I was reluctant to pick up the second book. However I am glad I did. After Alina and Mal fled at the end of the first book I was worried we would have a long introduction to the second book. But my worries were unfounded; the novel drags Mal and Alina back down into a world they thought they had escaped with brutal efficacy.
The novel introduces several promising new characters as Alina and Mal navigate a world crawling with desperation and loss. All the characters were scrambling for purchase in a mad dash to vanquish the Darkling. Alina was, of course, a crucial part of the plan for his demise, and she is all too willing to put an end to the newly powerful and seemingly unstoppable Darkling.
There is something terrible and dark about Alina in this novel, struggling with her immense power, driven by greed and plagued by delusions. She even takes a more political role in this novel, shouldering more responsibility and in the process meeting a new potential love interest. Yet even with all these new flaws and anti-hero personality Alina still feels one-dimensional.
Mal and Alina’s relationship though born out of a deep devotion to each other crumbles when faced with obstacles in this novel. If there is one thing I agree with the Darkling about it is how Mal does not seem to understand Alina. I do not particularly like Mal, he is dull and prone to complaining more than actually helping, and even after the second book he still feels like a stranger. It is almost as if the author forgot that we have not grown up with Mal like Alina, and therefore need introducing to Mal same as any new character. Much to my disappointment Mal seems to be in the series for the long run.
Nikolai, the new love interest previously mentioned, was probably my favourite part about this novel.
Let us talk about plot development. The novel was for the most part fast paced and while the book had its slow moments they were not unbearable. I would have liked the final scenes to last a little longer and involve some more combat though and the strange cillfhanger was reminiscent of the first book.
The Darkling was the only interesting character in the first novel and yet we still know nothing about him. I was deeply intrigued by the Darkling’s motives and backstory, the man behind the mask so to speak. Not as a love interest for Alina, because that opportunity has come and gone in my opinion, but simply because there was potential to create such an interesting complex villain.
Overall, though I was discouraged by the Darkling’s lack of involvement in this novel I liked it better than the first book. Though fans of the first book will certainly devour this novel and eagerly await the final instalment I will not be among them. I think I have given the Grisha Trilogy a fair shot at capturing my interest and I am stepping down from the hype surrounding these novels.