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I'm going to admit to a huge ambivalence about this second book in the Grisha series. On the one hand, I am still loving the world and the magic concepts. But then when it comes to the characters and the action sequences, I'm either bored or baffled. Seems like there would be an amazing story here with different people.
In Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal are trying to remain hidden from the Darkling. But double crosses (from both the Darkling and his allies) will force Alina and Mal back to the heart of Ravka. With a new (and interesting) ally, facing the Darkling in the open rather than in hiding may be their only option.
Book two suffers from a couple of sophomore symptoms: 'manufactured' conflict between the two romantic leads, emasculation of the male love interest, a dead dull, bloated middle arc, and recycled storylines from the first book. It was the same themes over again (Darkling capturing Alina and threatening someone she cares about, Alina trusting and getting romantically involved with a stranger, a large section of nothing but Alina moping/learns new responsibilities, then big action at the end) that made for a frustrating book.
But at the same time, there was an attempt at character growth for both Alina and Mal, though one moved forward and the other backward. Yes, every girl in the story wants Mal and every guy in the story seems to want Alina. That gets old and seems to only be there to create jealousy and uncertainty in the Mal-Alina relationship. As such, it made it hard to get into either character. Mal was an elusive character at best in the previous book - now he's practically inscrutable in his insecurity.
The action scenes were also very problematic for me. It seems that none of the Grisha were able to use their powers for anything other than collecting water or making a breeze. Alina can only do a sickle strike with her powers. Even knowing that an army of smoke like creatures are coming, no one seems to bother to create any kind of defense or train to defend/attack those creatures. We get one crazy invention and that's it. I admittedly became really annoyed that all the Grisha and soldiers were so amazingly ineffectual. As well, the Darkling's new power is supposedly life sucking but he seems to be able to summon an entire army just fine, other than looking a bit tired. It just didn't ring true.
There are consequences for those who side with the Darkling. And a few surprises (with hints that Mal is more than he seems) with a trail leading back to the birthplace of Mal and Alina. I'm excited, despite my lukewarm response of this book, to see where Bardugo ends the Trilogy.
The narrator did a good job and felt right for the part of Alina.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
There is no "middle book syndrome" here. This one was amazing! I loved the new characters, the action and all the plot twists and turns along the way. I don't want to give away any spoilers here, so I will just simply say this sequel was awesome! The narration was brilliant as well.
This is a must listen and totally worth the credit. Just be sure to read Shadow and Bone first (you won't be disappointed)
5 *huge* stars!!
21 of 25 people found this review helpful
If you've enjoyed the first book then this second won't disappoint even if it does suffer from being the middle book in the series. You know all the plans will come to nought, as things are setup for the third book.
Narration was good and understandable at x2 playback speed.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Who was your favorite character and why?
I can't really decide who is my favourite character in Siege and Storm. Alina is as sweet as ever but The Darkling is still so very fascinating. The more you know about him the more you wonder and also hope. And then there is new and very exciting pirate Stormhound. He is so very entertaining. So, I can't decide on favourite
What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I just love Lauren Fortgang's narration. She immediately draws you in. Also she is so easy to understand, which is important to everybody whose mother tongue is not English.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Though the story is quite captivating and moderately fast paced, I fast frustrated occasionally with Mal and Alina. Both seem to struggle overly much with each other and the situation and this felt a bit fabricated. Especially as this is the "middle" book and I felt as if some additional drama had to be produced. But there is plenty of actual drama already. Only a sleight thing but nevertheless.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful