Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.
In SIEGE AND STORM Leigh Barduga immediately picks up where we last left Alina and Mal. They are on the run from the Darkling looking around every corner expecting him to be there. They don’t have long to wonder though because peace can’t be found in hiding for too long. It is far too soon for Mal and Alina to ride off into the sunset of happily ever after. The Darkling has other plans for Alina and we don’t have to wait long to learn what they are.
In SIEGE AND STORM the energy is shifting. The Darkling makes an appearance at the beginning of the book but for most of the book he is not physically present. Never fear though, we do not forget him because he is constantly in Alina’s mind which in some ways makes him even more mysterious and scary. I felt this book was about Alina starting to find herself and come into the person she is destined to be. There is a moment when Alina decides to stand and fight for herself and all she loves and stop running. I think this is a pivotal moment not just in this book but in the entire series because it is in this decision that Alina begins to rise and become who she is destined to be. Alina is coming to realize that the darkness doesn’t feel so strange to her anymore and it is now part of her. She is realizing how powerful she can become and she is seduced by the thought of this power. Suddenly Alina is not black and white; she exists in shades of grey. She is not all good, she is not evil. I love that Barduga is giving us a character that rides the waves of grey fighting a battle within her so that she does not lose herself to the power of the amplifiers.
Barduga introduces us to an interesting new character Nikolai. In my opinion his introduction makes this book quite interesting and leads to some of my more enjoyable moments. With his introduction as well as the fact that Alina is determined to stand her ground and quit running we find Mal quite out of his element and as you will see he doesn’t handle it very well. I find Nikolai intriguing as a possible suitor for Alina. He seems to understand her a little; he talks to her as an equal in many ways. His belief in her helps her grow throughout the book. Don’t get upset with me for saying it folks but in this book I begin to wonder if Mal and Alina are meant to be. Perhaps in the end they will be together but for now their relationship is far more complex than ever before. Mal has always been the one above Alina with all of the attention and superiority and now the roles are reversed. Alina handles being the odd one out much better than Mal does, perhaps it’s that male pride thing, but I find myself wondering is there a life for them where they can stand as equals? Is one always destined to be the lesser in their relationship? In order for it to prosper they must be on equal footing.
As the book comes to its dramatic conclusion Alina is realizing that she is destined for great things. I closed the last page in anticipation of what splendor Alina will rise to in the next book and wondering how truly frightening she just might be when she reaches the peak of her greatness. For now, we must wait.