Today I am reviewing the second book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm. I first read this book when I was 17 or 18, and I reread it in January of this year. This post will contain spoilers from Shadow and Bone. All the Siege and Storm spoilers will be at the end of this post.
Once again, I love the worldbuilding of this book. We get some slightly different settings since Mal and Alina have left Ravka. We see some seafaring in addition to a different country, though these settings make only a brief appearance.
If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of middle books, especially in regards to their plots. They typically don’t have much of an arc. I find that true with Siege and Storm. I honestly don’t really remember the plot all that much. I know Alina fights the Darkling a lot, but that’s all I remember. That tells me the plot is unremarkable.
The characters, however, are still very interesting. The Darkling’s still around, which is awesome, and my second favorite character is introduced in this book: Nikolai. See? I can like good guys too. Nikolai’s just a fun, witty, adventurous guy, and I like how he adds humor and fun to what is otherwise a dark story. In case you were wondering, no, my opinion on Mal hasn’t changed. If anything I like him even less in this book, and I like Alina less, too, for reasons relating to Mal.
Since this is a middle book, I really don’t have much to say. It’s not great, but it’s also not terrible. I think it’s worth reading simply because Nikolai is so much fun and also because it’s necessary to get to the trilogy’s finale.
As for the spoiler-related things, I have a lot more to say. Let’s start with the Darkling and Alina. I love that the Darkling shows up in Chapter One. This gets the story up and running right from the start, and there’s a ton of conflict. I also really like the interesting connection that’s been forged between Alina and the Darkling. It’s very similar to the Force bond between Rey and Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, though Siege and Storm did come first. I like that that connection adds tension between the two characters and allows us to see the antagonist even when he’s not physically present. This is helpful because the Darkling doesn’t make many appearances in this book, and that is one thing I don’t like. I want more Darkling. I also love that Alina claims the Darkling’s chambers at the Little Palace in her attempt to take control of the remaining Grisha. Despite the difficulty of being surrounded by her enemy’s things, Alina does what she knows is a symbol of authority and power.
As for things I don’t like, they almost entirely center on Mal. He’s still behaving in a way I don’t like, and he’s now pretty moody too. Alina is very clingy when it comes to him. She’s constantly asking about him when the Darkling’s holding them as prisoners, and she often cries over him too. Despite their attachment to each other, Mal and Alina are constantly arguing and fighting. There’s a lot of relationship drama and jealousy. Mal acts as though Alina is the only important thing in his life, and without her, he has nothing left to live for. All of this makes me feel like their relationship is just flat-out toxic. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to read about that. If Alina needs to argue with someone, make it the Darkling. And if she has to have a guy in her life, make it Nikolai because at least he’s a decent person.
My final comment is that at one point, Alina screams and otherwise indicates she needs help, and her guards not only don’t respond, but are nowhere to be found. What’s the point of having guards if they completely fail at their job? I don’t understand why her guards weren’t there to protect her. Their absence needs a good explanation, and we don’t get one.
Despite the irritating drama between Alina and Mal, I do still enjoy reading this book. I like following the conflict between Alina and the Darkling, and I love all the things Nikolai brings to the table.
What do you think of this book? Have you read it? Are you interested in reading it? Let me know in the comments down below.