Reviews

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo

mishelz's review

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2.0

2.5 stars
I didn’t have high expectations, and I got pretty much what I thought I would ¯\__(ツ)__/¯

Plot
I feel like the plot wasn’t as interesting as the first book. For the most part of the book nothing happened and then in the end, a lot of events occured at once and the structure wasn’t my favorite. The similarities with the Mistborn trilogy continue lol

Characters
I found Alina to be a little less annoying in this book because I can understand that she’s going through a lot. On the other hand, I didn’t really like Mal in the first book, but I was mostly just indifferent. Up until around the middle of the book, I still didn’t get why people hated him so much but now I do and I don’t like him at all. I don’t fully despise him, he is whatever, but I won’t be that happy if he ends up with Alina.
As far as for the Darkling, we didn’t see much of him this book so…
We also didn’t see much of Genya :( I hope we hang around with her more, I love her a lot
About Zoya, I’ve heard she’s a really good character but until now she’s not that important, so I don’t really know much about her yet, except that she has this “girl hate” thing going with Alina which I don’t appreciate.
And now, off to literally the best character in this series AND even though, I’m not crazy in love with Shadow and Bone, this character is added to my favorites list. And that is of course, the almighty Nikolai. No words, just fangirling

mishmashedme's review

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5.0

So often second books in a trilogy are lacklustre but this one surpassed the first. It started out strong and continued the action and intrigue throughout. I loved that this book continued on where the first left off without a long passage of time or with a recounting of events from the first.

I absolutely adored the introduction of Sturmhond. He is a favourite character for sure. His humour and bravado kept me wishing for every scene to include him. The new characters helped to flesh out the world created and offered options for enemies or allies.

The relationships Alina has with others who have betrayed her are really complex and I liked how they weren’t written in absolutes. She struggled with her feelings for people who had hurt her and it felt very authentic.

I can’t wait to pick up the third and continue with this series.

bookscoffeeandpassion's review against another edition

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4.0

Whoa, Nikolai! My favorite character for sure!

dith_kusu's review

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4.0

3.5 stars- this was maybe more of a 3 star read than a 4, but since I actually marginally found this better than the first book, I figured this higher rating would reflect that. This second book does have its flaws- the major one being that it REALLY suffers from middle book syndrome, with its middle part being quite boring, gasping its final run towards the big action setpiece and finale to tide over to the actual series finale later in third book. But the beginning of this book opened really strong for me, which I'd forgotten even reading years ago and was delighted to "rediscover" again in the recesses of my memory. I really enjoyed the scenes with them out on the True Sea and the magical wonder of the flying ship, all of that- hunting down another mythical creature, the introduction of NIKOLAI, who is Stormund and industrious privateer prince, ambitious but also competent as a ruler and genuinely cares for his people, and is my actual favorite character of this series.

Sadly for me, the remaining majority chunk of the book was SO boring, all that page space with Alina ruling the Second Army and them futilely preparing for an impending attack by the Darkling, COPIOUS plot dedicated to Alina and Mal's relationship woes that I could not bring myself to care that much about, Alina gasping at apparitions of the Darkling so many times.... GAH a lot of this sagged and dragged, with the action only occurring within the last three chapters or so that would propel the plot. I objectively appreciated this character arc that Alina is meant to portray, where she comes back from the wilds presumed dead after running off from the Darkling, stepping up to the plate from being a completely green leader to getting things done, heading a group and balancing her position with factions between the ineffective king to competent second son to the magical plus non-magical armies, as well as toeing the line with the burgeoning fanatical religious group springing up deifying her as a saint and their savior (uh-oh). Alina is doing a LOT better POV-wise in terms of not focusing as much on looks looks looks and her not being pretty, though there are still those petty moments it's nowhere near as insufferable as the first book.

But her viewpoint is definitely biased, where I found her lingering affection for her friend on Darkling's side, Genya, her having sympathy for her and so on where you can see how she views her former "archnemesis" Zoya who stayed on her side, as a contrast. And the less I can talk about the "romance" developments here which consumed a lot of the story, the better. Leigh Bardugo really tried it with Nikolai as a possible third love interest, but it's clearly not there and not a valid viable future thread in the story. Mal became a prototype of a man who falls apart when his girlfriend becomes a lot more successful than him and turns brawler alcoholic and gets petty jealous- don't get me wrong, I get where his character is coming from, his loss of purpose, so on, but it was just too much.

And the Darkling, I never understood how in this book series, some fans are still fawning over him and finding him this mysterious evil but hot broody heartthrob- proto Kylo Ren? I just don't get it, not my thing. Him being absent for most of this story but Bardugo just HAS to include him so we get those boo! apparitions from him including the creepy "making out/ sexing Alina up while she's sleeping" scene... If I wanted to relive the nightmare monotony of New Moon Edward-Cullen appearances, I'd go read that again instead. Same as when I first read this years ago, I still wanted more of his background, his origin story of how he managed to pass as multiple iterations of "the Darkling", where the dumb name even started from, his motivations beyond him just being this indeterminate ancient and evil powerful being with dictatorial aspirations. I don't think I bothered with the third book so I wouldn't know if this is all revealed there. I just wanted more nuance than shadow black-clad evil guy who can now spontaneously magic up new form of dark demons versus light conjuring saint imagery golden clad girl.

I did also appreciate how this book went darker, with the classic middle one in trilogy "Empire Strikes Back" moment of the heroes being crushed and defeated, the Second Army decimated, capital has fallen, retreating when it seems all hope has been lost and the bad guy has won. Alina being portrayed as being drawn to more power, subconsciously seeking out the darkness of the new evil creature things the Darkling can conjure plus the volcras and the Darkling himself, like calls to like. Every hero has this archetype of the villain and them being not so different actually, and it's still compelling despite the predictability. Her moments of suddenly talking ruthlessly and being harsh, seen as her acclimatizing and changing with more power, seemed less organically done because she was swinging so back and forth between this HEARTLESS mode and extremely insecure questioning her actions mode, but it was not overly egregious. How the twin guards are secret worshippers was a weird plot reveal to me, like when would this have happened, but fine. So was the betrayer coming back with retribution on her because her one pride of her beauty is now destroyed, sure.

One thing that I did enjoy a lot here was the tidbits of legends and myths around this world, the fox, the mythical firebird, so on- I am more interested in these original fairytales by Bardugo than the main plot following our heroine Alina, to be honest. Will get to the short stories collection released that's in tangent with this universe, not sure if they have some roots or owe inspiration to real-life Russian folklore, would be fun to find out. And I'll get to the conclusion of this trilogy too, I suppose, if I must, LOL.

kxxxn's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

noellek's review

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

3.5

tovenordstrom's review

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adventurous funny hopeful mysterious tense fast-paced

4.5

khun21's review against another edition

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adventurous lighthearted sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

juliasegerberg's review

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emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75

kristinerei's review

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adventurous tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

2.0