Reviews

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo

oliwia_8996xo's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

fpkent99's review against another edition

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

4.0

witchygryffindor's review against another edition

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

3.5

sammibirdyy's review against another edition

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

4.5

I enjoyed this more than the first one, felt like a lot more happened, the characters and plot were more complex. It got me a lot more excited for the rest of the series.

illicit_fairy's review against another edition

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slow-paced

3.0

cassidylynnereads's review against another edition

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4.0

This was super close to a five stars, maybe even a 4.5 but I feel like I had enough problems with it that I can’t justify rounding up. I don’t want to get into too much on this one because it would spoil a lot of the plot but I will say the beginning was exciting, the middle dragged on quite a bit with unnecessary drama, and the ending was amazing. Actually, the ending alone made me want to give this book five stars. The action was crazy, I now see that no character is safe from dying (which heightens the drama even if it is a bit depressing), and I’m excited to see how the next book goes. I’m not a huge fan of the relationship problems that are such a major part of the book, pretty much the only thing that carried the middle section of the story, and I wish the characters would stop fighting over petty stuff and get their acts together, otherwise so much of what happened in the first books seems pointless and I don’t understand why the relationships in it were even introduced. Other than that, this book was another great installment in the trilogy and it remains one of my new favorite series.

marta_silva's review against another edition

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5.0

SpoilerAlina is suffering from PTSD during her trip across the ocean and during the time she spends in Cofton. It's expected after everything she went through at the end of the first book. At least she has Mal there with her, keeping her sane and loving her. But they left a distinct trail in their escape, so it's obvious that the Darkling finds them.
Mal and Alina are staying in a boarding house, in a disreputable part of town, that usually has a lot of people. So when they enter it at the end of the day to find only the owner inside, all kinds of alarms go off in your head. But too late she understands it and she and Mal are in Grishas' hands, the Darkling with them. And he has new powers: he can create, somehow, creatures that resemble the ones in the Void, the Volcra.
I want to say that the Darkling is cruel but I don't really think so. Yeah, he created a monster that hurt Alina and commanded Ivan to slow down her heart for an entire week but... I don't know... Don't get me wrong he is not kind by any stretch of imagination! He is on the bad side of the scale, where exactly...
A character that is introduced and fast and easily placed on the scale is Sturmhond, the Privateer. He is sassy and sarcastic but I know he is kind and good too (kind of reminds me of Kenji from the Shatter Me series), that is apparent after a short interaction.
Genya was a dearly beloved character for me and her betrayal of Alina and selfishness, although I understand, hurts. And seeing her try to interact with Alina as if nothing happened makes me angry. It doesb't make it any easier ti see her end though...
The Darkling asked for the whaler Sturmhond brought him so he could find the ice dragon that lives up north (like Arctic north) because it is pair to Morozova's stag and he wants to make a second amplifier for Alina. And he uses Mal for it, threatening Alina's life. But, as before, Sturmhond intervenes and the Darkling agrees to give Mal time to find the dragon, instead of torturing Alina for every day he can't find it (like a mad man). And that boy may not be Grisha, damn if he isn't some kind of magician in the tracking department!
I'm proven right about Sturmhond when he turns against the Darkling (like a mad man too!) and an all-out fight bursts across the deck of the whaler while his men capture and bring the dragon to another ship that has joined the fight. It's a whirlwind of action and it's great! Sturmhond has Grisha in his command, namely the twins Tamar and Tolya that are Heartrenders and are stronger than Ivan, whom they kill. Genya is a little redeemed when she doesn't attack Alina and her saviours so in a little sad that she didn't go to the other ship too. The Darkling unleashes his new power again and it's terrifying, but with Sturmhond commands and Alina's help, they escape the nightmare.
The captain is the sassiest character in this trilogy, probably, and I love him! I'm actually in love with him and I want him safe. Him and Tamar and Tolya. He is actually trying to keep Alina and Mal safe. He "was hired by someone" to bring her back to Ravka so she can save the kingdom.
And honestly the characters in this book (a.k.a. Alina, Mal, Sturmhond, Tamar and Tolya) are amazing and adorable and fascinating and I love them deeply (well, maybe not Mal, not as much).
In the book the Apparat had given Alina there is an illustration of Sankt Ilya Morozova with not one, not two, but three amplifiers! Alina has two (the stag and the ice dragon, whom she killed with Mal's help and took its scales) and now it will be a race against the Darkling for the third, maybe.
Mal isn't particularly fond of the idea of Alina getting a second or a third amplifier. But she knows she needs it to defeat the Darkling and destroy the Fold. So they talk to Sturmhond to have one of his Fabrikators build a fetter out of the ice dragon's scales. Alina explodes with power and it is only thanks to Mal calling her back to reality and holding her that helps her regain control of her power. And he is, reasonably, a little afraid of her power.
Sturmhond knows of the firebird, of course (he's not just a pretty face). And he takes Alina and Mal flying in a contraption of his own making to where they need to be. He is an intriguing character... We know virtually nothing about him, at this point, and I think that adds to his allure. And Mal and Sturmhond are BroTP!!! It's a shame what happens to them, really.
Sturmhond is insane flying over the freaking Fold! Alina is dizzy with fear and Mal is furious with fear!
They decide to engage the Volcra and after killing a group of them they go after another, thanks to Mal's skill as a tracker. And it goes wrong, obviously! I didn't know if it is PTSD but I was more inclined to think that it was actually the connecting between Alina and the Darkling that made her see him. Her light goes out for a few moments and the Volcra rush to them. Because of that chaos, Sturmhond's ship crash lands in the lake and starts to sink. And that is when soldiers arrive to see what the commotion and crash were about
Spoilerand Sturmhond introduces himself as a Major and Soldier in the King's army, Duke of Udova and the King's son!
.
At his deceit, at his bringing Alina back to Ravka as a trophy (because that what he makes it sound like) she punches him and it takes a lot of "crowd control" on Tolya's part to impede her being brought to the camp not in chains.
The client was no client at all, but Nikolai himself, Ravka. And he deceived them. He did what he did, became someone else because he was of more use to Ravka as Sturmhond at sea than as Nicolai in court. Besides he could not use his name on his ship because he'd be more valuable as a hostage than a captain. And he wants a political alliance with Alina as his Queen in order to save the Kingdom. Mal, of course, nearly punches Nikolai for having the brilliant idea to make such a suggestion. And sometimes Mal has the annoying little habit of deciding things for Alina as if they discussed it together, as if whatever they are talking about didn't just come up in conversation, as if it isn't her life and her decision!
Mal isn't very happy that Alina decides to go to Os Alta but he goes with her, of course. The journey is long, with several stops along the way to let the people know that their Prince and the Sun Summoner are back in Ravka. It's a heavy thing for Alina and a little uncomfortable (for the both of us) to have people worshipping her like that. Nikolai was born for the people, he knows what they want and need and he truly cares. And Mal accepts being the captain to Alina's personal guard so things are composing themselves.
I know, I know I'm supposed to be rooting for Mal in this trilogy, but on the first book he was a bit of an entitled *** and in this one he is better, yes, but I love Nikolai, whereas I only like Mal. So I want, so badly, for Alina to end up with Nikolai! Especially after that impromptu kiss in a village (I know it was only for show, to give people the idea that the two of them are together, but ever since he suggested it I've wanted it...!).
I think that Alina doesn't give enough credit and respect and trust to Nikolai for most of the book. He's actually on her side, he loves his country, and yeah, maybe he wants to be King but he has been on her side from the start! I want to shake Alina sometimes! Like at the dacha's house, where she could have stayed with him a little longer to keep him from being harassed by the man's wife...
It's good of Alina to try to show that the First Army, her guard is not above anyone by keeping them in whatever clothes (peasant) they want to wear and only give them pins that symbolize their status.
Nikolai is really smart and shows the row of soldiers his brother gathered to meet their processional that he knows them, fought with them on the front lines. He immediately has them in their hand and his brother knows it.
At the gates to the city, it is glaringly obvious that this is a city preparing for internal war: more men on the gates and walls, more weaponry, refugees everywhere! It's a little appalling and Alina's fears resurface. After all, it was not that long ago that she was brought to the Little Palace or that she left under the cover of darkness. But this time she's not alone. Fedyor, the Heartrender that saved her life in the previous book, had joined her, along with some others he helped escape from death at the hands of the First Army after the coup, even if they are deserters.
The King lets Alina and Mal stay, thanks to his (beloved) son (of whom his brother is jealous because both their parents seem to be more enthusiastic about Nikolai), but Mal receives a dishonourable discharge from the Army. Alina gets control of the Second Army, even though it's "temporary" and dependent on her actions. The Grisha aren't very fond of that change and complain loudly. So much so that Alina loses control of her temper (and it's honestly terrifying for her and the reader because she often compares herself to the Darkling in these moments) and almost delivers the Cut to Sergei, managing to only hit the ceiling at the last second. The Grisha are obviously terrified and acquiesce to her.
When Alina is in the Darkling's rooms he appears to her again, touches her and she loses it. She's horribly terrified of that but she still forces herself not to scream. Mal is a little disappointed that she doesn't tell him what's wrong with her lately, what she is going through (and I want her to talk to Nikolai, just because).
Alina starts making changes right away and Grisha don't like and come to her complaining. Her temper slips again but this time she is only harsh in her tone. They seem to be slightly scared of her now.
Mal hasn't let go of the whole marriage proposal thing and isn't particularly fond of Nikolai, even though I think that Alina is starting to see him and understand him better because he is honest with her, even when she asks complicated questions.
She goes to see Baghra, hoping to have her help but sees the horror her own son dealt for her betrayal, see a woman without hope, broken, and is shut down. But not without threatening her, and Bagrah points out that the power she has now is corrupting her, and it scares Alina even more.
And maybe that corruption comes from the fact that Morozova's amplifiers were created by him, he did not find them. It's a corruption if magic to create something from nothing and after David told Alina that part of the story I thought that. It makes sense, if they are a corruption then they can corrupt too. I also think that Alina should be a little more lenient with her thoughts about David. He was forced by the Darkling to do what he did, but he never physically harmed her or anything similar. He might be weak-spirited, but he is not bad or cruel. And his only focus is his work, that's why he came back to the Little Palace and stayed there.
You know Vasily's mind is on trying to have Alina on his side/possibly seduce her and have her as his Queen when he says things like "call me Vasily when we are in private". That just made a bunch of alarms go off on mine and Alina's minds! And Mal is not even remotely threaten by Vasily's proposal, even though when it comes to Nikolai he almost punches lovely (not that I blame him, Nikolai is perfect!)!
Vasily is an idiot falling prey to Nikolai's scheme of making him go to meetings (because Nikolai is going so Vasily is going too, he's the heir!), telling him how much work needs to be done. And Vasily is appalled, readily asking if there's not someone else to do the job. Nikolai knows exactly how to play his brother.
Alina goes to a party, in disguise, with Mal and Tamar. They don’t stay there long, a fight breaks out and they are forced to leave. But it was no coincidence that that fight happened, it was all made by the Apparat, so he could talk to Alina (with a little of Tamar's help). He doesn't harm her, obviously, but he says somethings that are worrying, like the faithful being everywhere, the fact that he knows of the firebird and is possibly in the possession of some of the Darkling’s things… Mal thinks that Nikolai is also involved because he was parading Alina through the villages and letting them believe that she rose from the dead. He still doesn’t trust him and is angry that Alina is defending him.
Mal sometimes turns into a whiny child! One second he is telling Alina to come back to him, because with her hectic schedule and his trying to stop rumours about them sleeping together they are barely together. The next he is a jealous guy, thinking that it’s Nikolai’s fault that Alina drifted away from him. Saints! It’s ridiculous! I want to be rooting for Mal, I swear I do! But he is not a character that makes me root for him! He is bland, doesn’t do much at all other than complain and not make an appearance most of the time! Alina is more concerned with the future of Ravka, with her changing due to the second amplifier and she’s doing the best she can with what she has! She is not concerned about romance, and Mal often is in her thoughts. He was never one for the life at the Palace and she knows it, but the dumb idiot still expects her to bound him to her in some way, to read his thoughts! Hell, dude! You can be all sweet sometimes, but she has an army to command! You are driving yourself away too, it’s not Nikolai and it’s certainly not just Alina’s fault! And of course, when Alina tries to explain that she is seeing the Darkling, the idiot shuts her down and walks away.
I want to smack Vasily upside the head every time he is on scene! The entitled idiot thinks he is the only one that knows anything! Nikolai is the only one of them that actually cares about his kingdom and his people! It’s like Alina said, for Vasily, the throne is a prize, but not for Nikolai. He will make a great King!
After the amazing demonstration of the disks David made for Alina’s use, Grisha and soldiers alike have a wonderful time together, sweet and peaceful (the sunny day before the horrible storm, I’d say). She sees Mal and he is cold and distant and it makes her sad, as to be expected. But Alina has a delightful conversation with Nikolai and he tells her he wants to kiss her (again). It may be my (very) biased opinion on the matter, but I believe that she is finally in a place where she likes Nikolai more than she knows or admits to herself, I don’t think she is just trying to forget Mal, but she did just get out of a relationship with him, they were best friends and she had been in love with him for years. But still, I think she’s there. Because she almost runs away when Nikolai tells her that he wants to kiss her when she is thinking about him not when she is trying to forget about Mal. Her pride took a blow and she might have felt a little humiliated, but it’s not as if she doesn’t know that, she had just thought that she wasn’t sure she wanted him to kiss her, that she might just want to do it because Mal said he had kissed plenty of girls.
Alina truly is torn about what she wants from Nikolai. But she is obviously still worried about Mal, so Tamar helps her find him. He is in the stables, fighting a Grisha. It's not terribly bad, but it is also not a fair fight, and Alina worries about him up until he wins and he and Zoya kiss. I hate that Alina reverts back to what she was at the beginning of the first book when Mal is angry with her, even though they both know that she'd never leave Ravka or give up her power. She finally tells him about the Darkling and what does Mal do? Falls into a bottle or kvas and falls asleep on duty. In that time Alina goes beyond the city walls, where pilgrims and such are gathered. The cover on her necklace slips free and she is almost torn apart by the people before Tolya and Tamar rescue her. Tolya is so furious, and rightly so, that he almost chokes Mal. But in that chaos outside the city Alina realized something: the village she comes from, or somewhere near, is the place depicted in the book of saints. Mal is a brat after all the crap he pulled when he says that he'll go, he's the only one who can. And I sincerely hope Alina lets him go (emotionally, like she did on the first book but for real now). She deserves better. And Mal feels threatened by Nikolai during this book, of course he does! Nikolai treats Alina way better than Mal!
Vasily is the biggest idiot that ever had the unfortunate idea of being alive! He made a "deal" with the Fjerdan for assistance in the fight against the Darkling not even thinking about the fact that they might have been contacted by the Darkling already and made an alliance with him! And he just doomed every person in the Palace, since it's Nikolai's birthday and there are a ton of important people there! The Darkling's monsters are unleashed into the Palace and it's chaotic. Vasily screams that it's Nikolai's and Alina's fault and when he goes to attack them he dies at the hands of the monsters. They are everywhere, the Little Palace is overrun and most of the Second Army is dead, the dishes broken and it's scary as hell! Nikolai and his family go to the Kingfisher to get them out of there (and he promises to come back and I think it was a sweet little interaction). Tamar and Tolya gathered the believers to come to save Alina and her people and they wound up in a church. Where the Darkling appears. He sounds more logical and reasonable that he has any right to be and for a moment I'm afraid that Alina is going to break... But she is so strong! She pretends to accept his offer, goes as far as kissing him, only to take control of his power (as he once did to her) and creates her own monsters. It drains both of them and it's almost her doom, but Mal takes her away and the church is destroyed. (Just a small side note, I know Alina and Mal are going to end up together at the end of all this, and I am not happy.)
They take her to the Apparat and it's all a little sad. Alina can't summon and as strong as she wants to be (physically, because over the course of this book she grew a lot, especially toward the end) she is too weak still from her fight with the Darkling... And I fear she has had a taste for death and wants to go back…


This book has some dull parts, a lot of description about the time passage, but they are not too dull and are frequently interspersed with great tension scenes. It's quite good a read! It had a short but tense and intense climax that just had me reaching for the next book! It was really amazing and fast-paced! I loved it!

thunderquake's review against another edition

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4.0

mal is a piece of shit

notchey's review against another edition

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4.0

4.5 stars.

I was told immediately before starting this that it was tedious and boring and would be a dnf. That was,,, not my experience. I loved this book! I thought it was refreshing to see a main character struggle with the greed that comes with power, I loved getting to see her fight against the evil nature that was trying to consume her. I loved getting to see Mal fall into a depressive state when he lost everything— the first book lacked characterization and this book finally turned the protagonists into multidimensional characters. I love how we are introduced to ANOTHER love interest! It’s fun! It’s refreshing! It’s tragic! Excited to see what happens next!

I’d specifically like to highlight the death of Marie, and how tragic it was. We’ve only ever seen Marie as a “girl” in being giggly, catty, flirting w/ her bf, etc— so when we are hit with the vivid image of her death we see all the things that happened off page— she was a solider and a warrior and a fighter and died in the line of combat. We realize there’s so much to this girl— this actual person— we didn’t know and will never know. This really puts the reader in the mindset of Alina and how she is feeling seeing this girl’s death.

I also believe the writing improved in this book :)

Alternatively,

Two princes, a pirate, a commoner, and a shadow king fight to kiss Alina <3

nubaha_needs_stories55's review against another edition

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

3.5