Review: Siege and Storm
Monday, May 22, 2023

Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

(I'm going to write this review assuming that you've already read the first book in this series since these are definitely designing to be read in order. As such, there may be some spoilers if you're skipping ahead.)

Unlike the first book in this series, the second is much different than its Netflix adaptation (even setting aside the lack of Crows). The beginning of this second installment was engaging and dived quickly into the plot with Alina being almost immediately recaptured by the Darkling. The hunt for the sea whip and Alina's suffering were well executed, bringing readers up to date with the current stakes and propelling them into the story proper.

After that first burst of adventure, there's a bit of a lull. Decisions are made--not always good, but believable--and Alina returns to Ravka.

Alina is very reactive during the first portion of the book, which is typical. First she's led around by the Darkling, then by Sturmhond, then Nikolai. The only character less in command of their own direction is Mal, who continues to follow Alina around like a guard dog. Mal's position in the book changes as the story progresses and, more importantly, as Alina's status and attitude shifts.

Another driving character is Nikolai, second heir to the Ravkan throne. Again, it's hard for me to know how much of my attachment to a character is from the book vs. my experience with the show, but I believe Bardugo did an excellent job of portraying this lovably eccentric, patriotic rebel. Other side characters like the crown prince, the Aparat, and the golden-eyed twins flesh out the story and provide some diversity to Alina's narrative and the world as a whole.

The world continues to be rich with vivid descriptions. I especially appreciated the attention to the refugees. Bardugo's writing style is smooth and easy to read, propelling readers through the story with little-to-no friction, though there were a few slow points in the plot where Alina mostly sat around feeling out of place.

I would say this book definitely feels like a "middle." It's the deep inhale before the final push. I'm excited to see where the climax takes us.

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