Saturday, June 29, 2013

Siege and Storm

Alina and Mal have fled to an unfamiliar land and seek to build a new life there, away from the Darkling and Ravka. She returns to her sickly, weak state and suffers from the guilt of the deaths caused by her power. They don't stay in hiding for long and quickly have to face the Darkling along with his frightening new power that was previously thought to be impossible. Alina escapes the Darkling with the help of a notorious pirate that is more than what he seems, but not before she acquires another amplifier. This new power prompts her to seek even more power and drives a wedge between her and Mal. They all return to Ravka to prepare for the coming battle with the Darkling, but only time will tell if all of their efforts will do anything against the Darkling's shadow army.

I read Shadow and Bone before it came out last year and was dismayed that although I got to read it early, I had to wait even longer than normal. The wait was completely worth it, I am pleased to report. All of my expectations were subverted time after time, making Siege and Storm exciting and surprising to read. I expected the beginning to have an extended time in hiding with narrow escapes, but the Darkling showed up fairly quickly to capture them. It was so outside my expectations that it was jarring. In a genre with so many conventions and stereotypes, Siege and Storm is a very welcome breath of fresh air. Most second books of trilogies simply set up for the last book and don't have a lot going on outside of that. Siege and Storm accomplished that and so much more. New and very memorable characters are introduced, my favorite being twins Tolya and Tamar. The characters we all love (or passionately hate) develop and change throughout the story.

Alina Starkov is wanted by a great many people. She's known as the Sun Summoner and Saint Alina, after rumors that she died and resurrected circulate Ravka. Very few people know her as simply Alina. Everyone wants something from her. Princes ask for her hand in marriage, not because they like her, but because of the power she wields. A growing group of people idolize her as a saint and hang their hopes and dreams on her, but know nothing about her at all. She doesn't even recognize herself at times because her hunger for more and more power is changing her. I like this new story line. She's grown a lot since she discovered her power. Now the questions are how much is too much and is she seeking it for herself or to save Ravka? I still like Alina, but I see some dumb decisions she's making, like pushing the only person who likes her for her (Mal) away for his own good.

Siege and Storm is an amazing read with crazy twists and turns, breathtaking action, and heartwrenching events. The Darkling is back with a vengeance, charming, frightening, and seemingly unbeatable. He is such a compelling yet evil character that appears and influences throughout the novel. The ending of Siege and Storm was completely shocking and I didn't see it coming. I need to know what happens next and I will be definitely preordering the final book.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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