Saturday, October 31, 2015

Siege and Storm » Review

Siege and Storm is such a middle book.  By that I mean, it is very much a bridge between a beginning and an ending and doesn't really pull too much new stuff out of its hat.  Despite this, it's still a good read.  However, it didn't knock my socks off like its predecessor, Shadow and Bone, did.

The book starts off with Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling.  Then, mere pages into the book, the plot arrives with a bang.  Seriously, I got some reader whiplash from how fast things took off.  Perhaps I would have appreciated a bit slower of a buildup.

Then, once things get going, they are going, until... the pace drops.  We get chapter after chapter of descriptive summary and very little dialogue.  With the breakneck start, this sudden lull was a bit jarring and noticeable.

As for our romance, it was in a middle-of-the-series state as well.  Alina juggles three romantic possibilities.  Three.  It was a bit much, even for a romance lover like myself.

She continues to pine after Mal, despite, you know, being with him, and their relationship struggles under the weight of Alina's chosen-one burden.  They are most definitely the most insecure couple I've ever encountered in fiction, although Mr. and Mrs. de Winter from Rebecca come in a close second place.  At one point, one of Bardugo's characters comments, saying something to the effect of, "for a case of true love, you two are awfully insecure."  Truth!  But is it any less annoying for being highly intentional on the author's part?

We also meet a bevy of new characters, and the series is stronger for it.  I particularly liked meeting the younger son of the King.  He was a complex, yet distinct, character and scenes were always brightened by his presence.  Vasily, his older brother, made for a great villain as well.  Coming from Kentucky, Vasily reminded me so much of a particular brand of snob that is the rich horse racing aficionado.  Perhaps living in California, Leigh Bardugo is familiar with the breed as well.

As for the Darkling, he was largely absent in the book, which I liked, because that character scares the bejeezus out of me.  A mass murderer who almost claims the omni-trifecta: omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient? Yikes.  I hesitate to say he's a flat character, because a lot of it can be chalked up to his being mysterious, but I've never gotten into the Darkling.  His sins never leave my mind long enough for me to feel anything but creeped out.  But maybe the fact that he provides a lot of food for thought makes him an accomplished character? Perhaps.

This has been a very muddled review, but I hope I got across what I wanted.  Siege and Storm was a good book, yet raised a lot of argumentative feelings in me regarding the plot and characters.


  1. I felt the same way when I read this book. I was so indifferent about it that i didn't even bother reviewing/rating it on GR. :/

  2. I know! I was so indifferent when I started reading it years ago, that I put it down and only read it now because I forced myself. I'm reading book 3 now, no problem, so I don't know what go into me. Have you finished the series?