ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
Sequels are hard because one comes to expect so much from a story that there’s a huge need for it to be better. In other words, it can make or break a trilogy. Siege and Storm belongs in the former category; it started with a bang and ended with a boom much like a storm. It gathered the undercurrent present throughout the story and threw it in the air by the end of the book. Everything is much more magnificent from the plot to the setting and that is what Siege and Storm brings to the trilogy.
As Alina comes to terms with living on the run, she cannot bring herself to shake off the feeling that she’s doing it all wrong. But that’s not the only thing she has to come to terms with. It is still hard for her to see herself as a Grisha, after the ordinariness of being a peasant and an orphan, much less a saint. Yet she does want it all; the power, the glory and the price of it all which makes her all the more interesting. Then there’s the terrible turn her relationship with Mal is taking.
Mal is conflicted; losing a sense of purpose in life and being thrusted headfirst into petty jealousy has made him lost all sense. Or most of it. Being in love with the Sun Summoner is never going to be easygoing and that is simply what he needs to understand. However, considering the circumstances, I think they coped as well as they could. Mal became an admirable Grisha fighter and they fell in a rut which, ultimately, could be good for them. But I’m still rooting for the Darkling.
Oh, the Darkling. There never could be a more splendid character. He gets darker in Siege and Storm and the rare glimpses of his humanity are oh-so-fine. When there’s the Darkling, there’s viciousness and what viciousness it is! His complications have complications, his arrogance has arrogance and ‘like calls to like’ and I’m a goner. His powers are opposite to that of Alina’s and while, Alina struggles with her stature in Ravka, the Darkling thrives in his notoriousness.
Then there’s Sturmhond. He wears sarcasm and wit and eyerolls like a second skin and I’m a goner forever because dude is much more than just a privateer. Sturmhond has earned his name, his job as a privateer and he just doesn’t stand there to look pretty (though, he totally could and has). It doesn’t hurt that his real name is one of my favorites ever and that his real identity just about popped my eyes out of their sockets. Basically, I just ship him with everyone and his ships.
Siege and Storm is a spectacular continuation of the Grisha trilogy because a magnificent white ice dragon, more beautiful keftas, the terrible nichevo’ya, a breathtaking volcra attack in the middle of the night, the state in which the Darkling leaves Baghra and Genya, and so much more. The pacing of Siege and Storm is just about right and I love that it is much more adventurous than its predecessor. There’s never a dull moment in Siege and Storm which means Ruin and Rising will be that much more impressive. I hope.
‘The ox feels the yoke, but does the bird feel the weight of its wings?’
‘I’ve seen what you truly are,’ said the Darkling, ‘and I’ve never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?’
‘Don’t argue. Never deign to deny. Meet insults with laughter.’