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Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy) Hardcover – June 4, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–After narrowly escaping the Darkling at the end of Shadow and Bone (Holt, 2012), Alina and Mal are still on the run. Though many believe her dead, Alina knows he will never stop hunting her, and she is right–it isn't long before the Darkling finds and recaptures both Alina and Mal. Forced onto a boat, the imprisoned couple has little choice but to do as he commands: track a second amplifier so that he can use Alina's twice-amplified powers against Ravka. With the help of a pirate with questionable motives, Alina and Mal escape and seek a third amplifier that Alina hopes will give her the strength to combat the Darkling's increasingly evil power and influence before his dark power becomes unstoppable. As with Shadow and Bone, this is a dark fantasy best for patient readers: Bardugo takes her time developing the plot and keeping readers guessing. World-building and character development are top-notch, and relationships and motives are complex; Alina hungers for more power just as much as the Darkling does. Those who haven't read the previous novel recently may want to brush up as there is little rehashing of its plot. An action-packed, heartbreaking ending will leave teens breathless for the final installment.–Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After twice narrowly escaping the Darkling—the most powerful Grisha (magician) in the land—Alina and Mal find refuge of a sort at the court of the Ravkan king. While the Darkling creates his inhuman armies and regains his strength, Alina copes with disturbing feelings and visions related to her expanding light-summoning abilities, reassembles her own army of Grisha for the next battle, and tries not to lose a sweetheart who daily grows more emotionally distant. Although one could dive into this series here, readers will enjoy it all the more if they begin with Shadow and Bone (2012). In this hefty follow-up, Alina continues her first-person narrative as she, Mal, and Ravkan Prince Nikolai take center stage, with only brief appearances by the Darkling. Bardugo populates her fully realized world with appealing three-dimensional characters and an involving plot that keeps a steady pace. But she doesn’t skimp on the introspective moments that will bond readers to the main characters and have them tapping their feet impatiently for the concluding volume. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A huge marketing campaign and strong reviews met the first book, and film rights are already set for this one, too. The buzz will be big. Grades 7-12. --Cindy Welch
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Alina finally stopped being a whiny, useless slug and became powerful and badass like I’ve been wanting
Nikolai/Stormhond is utterly hilarious and I am so happy he came to exist in this book
The Darkling is still so fascinating to me. Every scene with him just leaves me with so many questions and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up — he’s just so intriguing
Mal is still here and is even more annoying, which I didn’t think possible
Remember Genya? Yeah, I don’t because she’s in this book for two scenes (one in which she doesn’t even speak)
The Darkling‘s appearance is at an all time minimum.
The ending. Dare I say it was…boring? Not the ending sequence, which was pretty badass and action-packed, but just how the book ends in general
I love everything about this series, except where the plot is going. Every time I’m loving a book in this series I get to the end and I’m just like, oh.
Am I the only one that wanted this series to take on a more sinister plot? There are so many times that it’s hinted it will go that way but then it never does. Leigh Bardugo has created such an interesting, complex villain but then someone like Mal takes up 50% of the book. Mal, who is an average, ordinary, underwhelming character that I’ve seen in 100 other books. I don’t get why there’s such an emphasis on him, especially when his character is not evolving, developing, or growing at all
In Shadow and Bone I didn’t like the ending because I don’t care about Mal and his addition towards the end of the book was underwhelming. And now in Siege and Storm I didn’t like the ending either! Literally nothing happened. And I’m not talking about the first 300ish pages – those were great. I’m talking about the ending. The ending could have been so much more had it just gone a different way. But now, the entire lead up to the ending was…pretty much for nothing?
Based on the ending of these last two books, I almost 90% sure how Ruin and Rising is going to end, which sucks. I want some surprises, some twists. I’m really hoping that Leigh Bardugo will surprise me with the next book
I loved everything else about this book. It started off strong and action-packed with a visit from the Darkling and his new and improved power. And then we meet some new characters: Nikolai, Tamar, and Tolya. Nikolai is…a fantastic character. He is the complete opposite of the Darkling, yet somehow I love them both so much.
And despite a lot of people saying the middle of this book was slow and boring, I really liked it! I didn’t find it slow at all. There was a lot of planning and waiting, but I didn’t find those parts drawn out and still enjoyed them. I loved getting to know Nikolai and I was so happy that Alina grew more powerful and authoritative. Her banter with Nikolai is honestly my favorite.
Overall, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this book, per say. It’s mostly just my preferences for how I want the plot to go that made me dock 1 star. But I will say that in terms of character development, Mal is lacking.
Although the ultimate goal should be destroying the shadow void, it's this book that started to make me realize that the amplifiers are going to play a much bigger role than I originally anticipated.
The growth Alina is starting to show is profound, and I am proud of how much she is adapting to her surroundings. Alina is still Alina, just the more updated version. Through her narratives, we see mental notes she give herself to act a certain way in order to manipulate or prevent being manipulated. She's still very obviously an amateur, but she's learning.
Because I'm pretty well-spoiled with the series, I was quite aware of Nikolai's introduction (and how he's not going to end up with Alina). It's also because I posses such knowledge in my mind that made it so much obvious for me to see how organized Bardugo was in organizing her series' story-line. The way she portrayed Nikolai and the Darkling made it obvious from the very beginning that as much as we may ship them, they will never work. None of it was improved, they were all planned.
At this point, it's very obvious that the Darkling is not redeemable. I know when they are because the authors would've made specific scenes to prove to us that they are redeemable, and able to become a couple with the protagonist. I am very sad to say that looking at the story's progression, it is obvious that Bardugo purposely made us have feelings for him, but fundamentally never intended to make him anything other than a villain. We are in love with the idea of the Darkling, not him for who he is. Becuase there really is no other way to defend him: he is evil.
But it all comes down to how the story is progressing, and how this book carries along with the plot. I'm surprised to say that this was actually executed very, very well. It's always hard to execute the ability to transfer one story-line from one setting to another. It's like having to transfer one very easily disturbed object from one person to another on a very shaky train. It's eminently very difficult to make sure the story progresses steadily and at the same not different, but still not feeling out of place with the series.
This trilogy also joins the club of books that proves how books do not need cliffhangers; if your books are good, the readers would be bound without a choice.