Saturday, June 15, 2013

Siege and Storm.

Siege and Storm
by: Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
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.

This book had the same magical feel of the Shadow and Bone and was equally as amazing. I loved all the new aspects that were introduced. I had heard so many amazing things from the reviewers who read arcs of this book, so when I couldn't read it when it first came in the mail I nearly died. Then when I could finally read it I basically devoured it. It was so fantastic and heart-wrenching and sad and charming and funny. It was all the things I wanted it to be and more. I think Leigh Bardugo's writing is only going to continue improving as she continues her career (and that's saying a lot because she's already spectacular).

Brave and Genuine Heroine: CHECK
Alina: Alina continues to be complex and really awesome. I loved when she punched Sturmhond in the face after learning his secret. She wasn't afraid to enforce her authority (or I guess I should say that she was afraid, but she did it anyway).  Alina starts out as a different person in this book. She has power now, and lots of it. She's far more powerful than she was, even at the end of Shadow and Bone. So in this book responsibility isn't being forced on her, she's choosing to take control of her own future, to forge her own path to freedom. I love that she doesn't always feel brave. She would like nothing more than to leave Ravka behind and run away with Mal, but she doesn't because she knows the Darkling is a danger both to her and to the country. I also loved seeing her struggle with her want for power. You don't often the protagonist struggling with that because it's seen as a very antagonist sort of thing. So the way Leigh so openly addressed Alina's desire for more and more power and how she had to fight against herself in that respect was both really risky and really incredible. It's safe to say that this book was better for that inner conflict and I know that, for me as a reader, that risk paid off.

Strong and Brave Heroes: CHECK
Mal: I love Mal and Alina's dynamic. They're not the typical couple. They're difficult and they know it. Then other times they're completely perfect for each other. But they fight for each other through it all. Their interesting dynamic is especially shown in these quotes, The first is an example of one of their problems and the other is their fantastic dialogue.

"Mal's always been like that. You could drop him in a camp of Fjerdan assassins, and he'd come out carried on their shoulders. He just blooms wherever he's planted."
"And you?"
"I'm more of a weed," I said drily."

"If you ever get tired of skin and bones," she called to Mal, "I've got something to tempt you."
I stiffened. Mal glanced over his shoulder. Slowly, he looked up and down. "Now," he said flatly. "You don't."

"I felt a lump rise in my throat. "Do you practice being wonderful?"
"Daily," he said with a grin. Then he winked. "But I prefer 'useful.' "

Mal has a lot of adjusting to do in this book. He suddenly finds himself without purpose other than protecting Alina. He's being told by everyone (except her) that he's not good enough for her and he has to figure all of that out for himself. He has to adjust to Alina's new power just as much as she does. But I am still all in favor of their relationship. Alina loves him, has always loved him. Mal loves Alina, totally and completely. and I love that Leigh didn't mess with that.

Fantastic and Interesting Supporting Characters: CHECK
STURMHOND: I FREAKING LOVE HIM. He's so sassy and charming and I loved every single scene that he was in. It was amazing how Leigh worked in showing his real self and his character develop despite his convincing façade. And I love for saying things like this,

 "I want the choice," I said.
"You'll have it," he replied. "On my word as a liar and a cutthroat."

"Nikolai Lantsov, but please don't make me recite my titles again. It's no fun for anybody, and the only important one is 'prince.'"

"You heard Prince Perfect," Mal said, and joined us at the table.
Nikolai grinned. "I've had a lot of nicknames, but that one is easily the most accurate."

and then he winds up saying really genuine, smart things like,

"I'm suggesting that maybe these people are just as fond of life as you are."

and then we find out who he really is and OH MY GOODNESS, YES. I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happened to him and the king and queen. I want more Sturmhond, man. I NEED more Sturmhond scenes.

Tamar: I absolutely love her. She was always witty and always brave. I definitely want to see more of her and Tolya in the third book. I was really interested with their relationship with the Apparat.
and then she says things like this and makes me love her. 

"You were an odd little girl."
"You have no idea. What did you and Tolya play with?"
"The skulls of our enemies."
I saw the glint in her eye, and we both burst out laughing."

David: For some reason I've always loved David as a character. He's just so interesting in a way that few people are.

"David, I think you just made a joke."
He frowned, utterly perplexed. "Did I?"

Genya: Another interesting character. I love that Alina couldn't help caring about Genya and their friendship even though Genya betrayed her. There were some things that Alina couldn't help feeling about her past friendship with Genya. It made it feel a lot more genuine.
The Darkling: We don't actually see an incredible amount of him in this book, but his presence is always felt. In his weird visits to Alina. But we see him at his weakest near the end. We see Alina almost sacrifice everything to take him down. I am really intrigued to see how that affects him in the next book, I can't see him coming that near to destruction and coming back sane. His life and his power are the most important things to him and now his power belongs to Alina just as much as her power belongs to him.

Gorgeous writing: CHECK
 Leigh Bardugo is an expert at tone writing. The words all seem so stylistically aesthetic. You feel the world through the words, not just in what they're saying but in how they sound and how they connect with each other. Just one example of a sentence that had my jaw dropping,

"His voice was raw white wood, torn from the heart of a tree."

The context made that sentence sound that much more powerful. I completely felt Mal's pain through the description of his voice and that takes talent from the author.


"The ox feels the yoke...but does the bird feel the weight of its wings?"
"You two have a bad habit of acting like fools and calling it heroic."
"I prick him, you bleed."

"It felt wrong, like everything was happening too quickly, as if we were rushing toward something we didn't understand."

"The power isn't feeding him. It's feeding on him."

"Besides, I like to have powerful enemies. Makes me feel important."

"I would face him. And one way or another, this would end."

"Tentative, frightened, but it still sounded suspiciously like hope."

"His face broke into a grin that left me breathless. I didn't know if I'd ever get used to the idea that a smile like that might actually be for me."

"No matter what I said, we both knew the hard truth. We do our best. We try. And usually, it makes no difference at all."

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