Siege and Storm is the second installment in the renowned Grisha trilogy. I often regarded second books as the best in a trilogy what with the author being granted a chance to redeem herself or beat her best. But this is a wretched exception.
NOTE: This is a retrospective review. I read this back in December of last year and as usual my reviews are way overdue.
I have no issues about Bardugo’s writing style. It’s superb and fine. Thank you very much. She writes a la Sarah J. Maas wherein brewing phase is necessary for it to become your cup of tea. It retained its wit, even became more with the introduction of a few more characters. While the author’s magnificent at writing about monarchies, we learned how equally eloquent she is at urban speak.
For the most parts, I loathed how the characters developed/existed here. For one thing, Alina retained being unremarkable. She held the story together but for some reasons, I couldn’t feel her being. I might if a sea of arrow abruptly struck her while making out with the Darkling on her dreams… or maybe not even close. Like, if you line her up with other contemporary female fictional YA characters, there’ll be a void in her place.
Mal was 10% relevant and 90% melodramatic. The world gets you’re insecure but guess what, we’ve had enough on our plate to care much about your whining. Like Alina, his character wasn’t adequately conspicuous for me to sympathize about his sentiments.
And then there’s the Darkling who’s practically been demoted to being a supporting character if presence is the basis. I pity the poor guy for the scanty limelight allotted for him. But if truth be told, I could feel his existence more than the two aforementioned despite the meager exposure. But what’s with him and having so many lives?!
Much of my 4-star rating are credits to the Sturmhond. Biologically named Nikolai Lantsov, he is the ultimate redeeming quality of this installment. He’s witty and smart and adorably cheeky and very Lucifer (if you watched the pilot episode). He stole the spotlight from Malina but thank the universe he did. Otherwise, we’re facing an unknown abyss of boredom.
Unlike the Shadow and Bone where a reunion of the best YA fantasy plots took place, Siege and Storm took a rather different course. It’s more original and refreshing.
Allow me to graphically inform you about my perspectives on how the plot panned out.
The first chapters of the book commenced in a series of dynamic actions as they were in a quest to run away from the Darkling and eventually lounged into Sturmhond’s ship in quest to find another amplifier. That was amazing and drat, I’m shipping Nikolai to myself!
The adrenaline was pumping then until it got drained on the middle chapters and oh, what a long drought it was! There’s pretty much nothing happening from herein. And reader, I’m sorry you even had to suffer through occasional bouts of Mal syndrome where he obnoxiously sulked around the corners.
But ladies and gents, please don’t close the book just yet (skip the middle if you will). The ending will have you gripping on your seats. As the graph reveals, the plot escalated drastically from ground level to Mt. Kilimanjaro (Not Mt. Everest. It’s not on the level, sorry.). The war – which should have begun ten chapters ago – had finally sparked. There’s also another brewing element in the story, the Apparat’s cult, which will leave you hanging on to dear life until the third book is on your nose.
I am not considering this for a reread but for what it’s worth, I recommend you to try S&S still if you’ve read S&B because there’s beauty amidst the chaos… and also there’s Sturmhond.
Words to live by from the Sturmhond.