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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Grisha #2
"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. 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."

This book... Oh, my this series. It is in my top two favorite series, following only Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Possibly being tied with that series. We pick up a few weeks after the events of the last book. Alina and Mal are hiding across the true sea. Trying to live a normal life and staying hidden from The Darkling. Their escape is short lived at The Darkling survived the Fold, and tracked them across the sea. Bringing them aboard the Volkvolny, a ship captained by a Privateer, Sturmhond, to first search for the Sea Whip, another one of Morozova’s amplifiers, then to take her back with him to the Fold and then to Os Alta to overthrow the king and take the throne for himself. Things don't go as he planned and Sturmhond helps Mal and Alina escape.

I am having trouble with talking about this book and not giving anything away. It is just so darn good. The Darkling as grown more powerful since the events on the Fold, yet he looks weaker, the creatures he accidentally created all those years ago, he now seems to have control over. And while he has more power, he also appears to be weakened by the power he wields. I have mixed feelings about the Darkling. He has moments when he is rather interesting, but at the same time, I don't exactly see what he plans on doing if he does win. All his actions are biased on wanting respect and glory for the Girsha, but all he seems to accomplish is making those around him fear what he can do even more. But I still like his character, and it was actually kind of nice to see him have moments of weakness from time to time.

Now I want to talk about Mal. I loved how Mal was at the end of Shadow and Bone and how he was at the start of this book, his love for Alina was so sweet and endearing, but it slowly started to look like  a selfish gesture. Alina had been there for him their whole lives, and he ignored her presence and looked for comfort and "love" in the arms of pretty girls. Yes, Mal is described as being very handsome,  but what Alina felt for him had always been unconditional. It just seemed that Mal preferred the helpless girl he grew up with, not the powerful capable woman she had always meant be. Like he wanted someone weak that he had to look out for not an equal. His petty jealousy clouded his character for me.

Alina's character grown is just fantastic. From who she was at the start of Shadow and Bone, to who she became at the end of Siege and Storm. She has two amplifiers, something that no other Girsha has ever done before. Her growing confidence in what she is capable of, both elevates her and scares her. Her constant fear that she will become like the Darkling is the very thing that just might keep her from being like him. She still wants to keep the humanity that the Darkling seemed to drown out to obtain more power. And even though she wants to search for the third and final amplifier she only wants to do so in hopes of destroying the Fold and the Darkling and doesn't seem to mind that it could cost her life. As long as the evil that was created is destroyed she doesn't seem to fear death. Her guilt for abandoning the innocent soldiers on the Fold is what helps keep her humility and humanity.

The new character, Sturmhold, has many secrets, and a secret identity. One that I can't and don't want to giveaway in a review. But I love that character, and I hope to see him in the third book.

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