Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo, was published in 2013 by Henry Holt. It is the sequel to Shadow and Bone.
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 father 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.
I forgot to mention in my review of Shadow and Bone how much I love the Russian-style fantasy world of this series. I love it when authors draw on current or past culture to create their worlds (such as Rachel Hartman with Italy in Seraphina). The world is expanded a little more in Siege and Storm, although Alina goes back to Ravka and familiar settings quickly—more quickly than I was expecting, which threw me for a loop a bit.
I’m not sure I liked Siege and Storm as much as I liked Shadow and Bone, but this book is still a good, compelling fantasy. Bardugo didn’t do quite what I was expecting with the Darkling, but it still went in the direction I was expecting it to. I also thought Mal was much more likeable and interesting in this book, although I was hoping that he and Alina didn’t go through the “second book relationship problems” plot. Alas. I also didn’t like the introduction of Nikolai as a third potential love interest, since the Darkling isn’t even out of the picture even though he’s crazy evil. Love squares are even worse than love triangles.
I liked Alina’s struggle with power and how she wonders about her amplifiers and what that means for her. I do think that if that wasn’t in there, Alina would be entirely too perfect of a character, falling into Mary-Sue territory. But she does have flaws, which I hope come back again in the last book, and she does have weak moments alongside her awesome ones.
I also just now realized that the cover art for each book has one of the amplifier animals on it. That’s pretty cool.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: One or two sensual scenes, violence.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
I swallowed nervously and plunged ahead. “The stag’s power isn’t enough. Not to fight the Darkling. Not to destroy the Fold.”
“And your answer is a second amplifier?”
“For now?” He ran a hand through his hair. “Saints,” he swore. “You want all three. You want to hunt the firebird.”
Siege and Storm was not quite as compelling as I found Shadow and Bone, but I still found it a good read, with a beautiful world and some improvement on character development. The quick pace of the beginning threw me off a little bit, and I wasn’t fond of yet another love interest for Alina to agonize over and her problems with Mal, but I am looking forward for the third book to see how Bardugo finishes.
You can buy this here: Siege and Storm