Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Posted June 17, 2014 by Jessica in Fantasy, Jessica, Reviews, Young Adult / 102 Comments

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Published on: June 4 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

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.


I was Team Mal to the DEATH in Shadow and Bone.

Yeah, the Darkling was hot in a not-so-vaguely sinister way, but friends-to-lovers will win over Bad Boys every, single time.


You’d think that I’d have learned by now not to speak in absolutes . . . but you’d be wrong.

Siege and Storm, the second installment of the Grisha Trilogy, begins with Alina and Mal on the run after the big showdown with the Darkling at the end of Shadow and Bone.

The showdown in which the Darkling’s true nature was unquestionably revealed.

Sorry guys. If you insist, of course, I will listen to your arguments on behalf of the Darkling, but know in advance that in my head, all I’ll be hearing is, “NOPE. Nope, nope nope.”

But I’ll listen . . .

SO. Following the obvious (seriously obvious) trail of gold hairpins, the Darkling finds Alina and Mal, captures them, and predictably, uses them against each other to secure their cooperation on the way back to Ravka.

How are they getting back to Ravka?

On another boat. A whaler this time. A whaler sailed by . . . PIRATES. *oooohhhhh* And not just any pirates, no, Sturmhond and his crew. *aaaahhhhh*

Come on, guys. “Sturmhond” is almost as good a name as “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Maybe better, b/c Sturmhond is a tinkerer. He likes to find ways to improve old things, and builds completely new things. He’s a . . . wait for it . . . steampunk pirate.

It’s pretty cool, actually. I think the term the author uses in regards to this series is “tsarpunk” Don’t know what that is? Well, neither do I really, but it looks like this:


I don’t know about you, but I LIKE it.

So we’ve got Mal, the childhood friend, the Darkling (pure EVIL), and now Sturmhond (a PIRATE).

There’s really not much I can say about this book without spoilers, but I can tell you that Mal . . . Mal is kind of hard to like in this book. He feels like he’s being left behind, like he no longer fits into Alina’s life, and while BOTH of them need their heads banged together REPEATEDLY, b/c all of the loneliness and longing could have been avoided if they would just TALK to each other. GAH. It’s been days, and just thinking about it has my blood pressure through the roof again.

All of these misunderstandings are helped along by none other than Sturmhond, who has a very mercenary interest in Alina.

At least it starts that way.

But after awhile, it seems to become something more, and Mal is acting like such a loser whiny-baby that you start to wonder . . . So, yes, I would definitely say there’s a love triangle this time. Even though there was arguably one in the last book as well, it never felt like one to me. This one . . . this one had me confused and bewildered, and while I like that, I know that MANY of you think that sort of thing is the opposite of fun. So. Prepare yourself for that.

There is also foreshadowing aplenty. I don’t know what any of it means, but I took note, and I have suspicions . . .

View Spoiler »


ALSO—the thing that happened last time that was a bit too convenient? This time Bardugo nailed it. It was sudden, and shocking, and COMPLETELY believable. Maybe the difference was that this time “it” wasn’t a loophole that allowed Alina and Mal to escape. This time “it” was what made it possible for all hell to break loose. Now that I’m thinking of it, there was also a loophole, and yes, it was still a bit of a stretch, but no where near as bad as last time.

Hooray for that!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo skillfully navigates the typical second book challenges. There are new and interesting characters, PIRATES, lots-o-action, and a surplus of villainy. Bardugo delivers a second dose of dark and creepy that is too enthralling to allow for things like food or water . . . I read it in an afternoon. And hey, guess what? TODAY is the day. Ruin and Rising, the final chapter in the trilogy, is available right this very second. Well? What are you waiting for? Go on. *shoos away*

The Grisha Trilogy:

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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102 responses to “Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Sounds great Jessica, I was wondering on what the second book is like because I didn’t really understand all the raves for the first book (shock horror). Glad it doesn’t suffer from middle book syndrome! Although I’ll have to prepare myself for the love triangle.

    • Yes, even though I did feel like this was a strong second installment, I still didn’t like it quite as much as the first book. I loved Sturmhond too, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Ruin and Rising is taunting me even now.

  2. Okay, how great is the term “tsarpunk?” Love it.

    The one thing I couldn’t stand about this one was the constant lack of communication between Mal and Alina. Like you said, those two need a serious wallop upside the head. Yes, I know you feel lonely and insecure but – newsflash! – maybe if you had an honest conversation about it you’d realize things aren’t actually that bad. Sheesh.
    Danya recently posted…Haul Vol 1: School’s Out for the Summer

    • Exactly. Although it wasn’t entirely Mal’s fault, b/c Alina refused to tell him that she was having Darkling hallucinations. Again, understandable, but sometimes you’ve got to be smart enough to realize that your refusal to confide is causing MORE damage than just telling him you think you’re crazy. Hopefully they’ll sort themselves in this last book 😉

  3. I never really liked Mal but I really grew to dislike him in the second book. I did feel bad for him a bit because he didn’t seem to fit into her life anymore but he’s just so vanilla, I can’t get behind him. But Sturmhond!!! Boy, he was a great character. Darkling’s a great (evil) character. Alina’s a great character. Mal’s just meh. On to Rise and Ruin!!
    Mary recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Just a little crack…

  4. I’m so glad that Seige and Storm didn’t disappoint, Jessica. It sounds pretty amazing. I’m planning to read Shadow and Bone (gah! by the end of the month) for my Jumble Your Genres challenge. Now I’m really excited!

  5. I didn’t read your review thoroughly because I STILL need to read the first book. There’s just not enough time in a day *hangs head*. I’m really excited to read it though – all the reviews are so great! And when someone loves book 2 this much that’s a great sign 🙂
    Berls recently posted…Top Off Tuesday | Renegade Lady

  6. Jess, my lovely, lovely Jess! I’m so ever-sorry that I’m not reading your review, but I’m avoiding all and every review, opinion and spoiler. I don’t want to know any opinions until I’m done with reading this series myself. But I did peek at your rating and it brought a smile on my face 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed!
    Siiri recently posted…Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR

  7. “friends-to-lovers will win over Bad Boys every, single time.”

    This is something that I agree with, ha. 😉 I loved Mal in the first book, loved him in the second book, despite the fact that he isn’t as brilliant in it, and don’t think of the Darkling as anyone who should be love interest material. I have to admit that I never thought of the situation here as a love triangle until everyone started waving the Team Darkling flags. But Ruin and Rising is here! Along with all the answers. I can’t wait to dive in soon. 🙂 Great review, Jessica!
    Sam recently posted…Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

    • I’m with you. Team Darkling is a baffling concept. I can understand Sturmhond a bit better b/c PIRATE, but still, like I said, I feel his interest is too mercenary. Not many things can compete with the kind of history that Mal and Alina have, and I can’t wait to see what you think about the ending 😉

  8. OMG…I can’t wait to read this and I only barely skimmed the review to avoid any potential spoilers, not that you would include spoilers but just in case (I’m paranoid like that). 🙂 I’m dying for this book. *grabby hands* And that illustration, I’m totally in love with it!!! Who is it by?? I really hope I get a HEA in the final book and if I don’t I might have a nervous breakdown. *bites fingernails* 😉
    Cristina recently posted…Looking for Co-Bloggers…

    • You have read this one, haven’t you? I thought the only one you hadn’t read yet was Ruin and Rising (which I read yesterday btw 😉 ). If you haven’t, you better get on it—we need to fangirl!

      • I.AM.A.NOOB. I was so worried that it was book 3, that I didn’t even realize you were reviewing book 2. *bangs head on desk* So now, I finally read your review and you nailed it. The love triangle was in full force in this book (not so much in the first) and Mal just couldn’t seem to compete, I actually kinda fell bad for him. I’m not too sure what to expect in book 3 but I can’t friggin’ wait! Beautiful review my friend and I’m kinda really love with the illustration. Where did you find it? Reminds me of Laini Taylor’s husband draws.
        Cristina recently posted…At Your Beck & Call by Jane Harvey-Berrick

      • CLICK IT!! It’s one of Leigh Bardugo’s pins and the pic is hyperlinked. And it’s cool, LOL. I mean, it DID post on R&R’s release day, and I am kind of a fanatic. But sadly I didn’t get an ARC of this one. And yeah, I felt bad for Mal too, but not bad enough to not be annoyed with lamewad antics. Thanks, lovely!

    • Yeah, the romance stumble was no good. Book 3 jerks you around a bit before settling, but that’s expected, AND there is much more Darkling. That’s all I’m saying about that . . .

    • YAY! Team Mal! It feels like there are too few of us, and that doesn’t make any sense to me b/c evil Darkling is evil and mercenary pirate is mercenary. Book 3 was awesome, I hope you love it too 😉

  9. I didn’t read all of your review, Jessica, since this is yet another series I have on my TBR shelf but haven’t had a chance to start again. I love that you think it’s unique, creepy and twisted though. That definitely made me want to push it way up on the mountain to read it sooner than planned!
    I hope you’re having a wonderful week 🙂 Happy reading.
    Lexxie recently posted…Blogtour Review: Freedom (Fearsome #2) – S.A. Wolfe

  10. No arguments in the world will ever turn me away from Team Mal 😛 I am worried though because I have heard that he becomes a little.. annoying in this one. I’ll never become Team Darkling but… I am interested in this Pirate you speak of 😉

    I am so incredibly looking forward to reading this though. I read book 1 twoish years ago and loved it and was waiting for R&R to come out before diving into this one! 🙂

    Fantastic review as always, Jess! 🙂

    PSSST I have to ask though, please tell me you’re still Team Mal .-.
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

    • YES. Wild horses couldn’t tear me from Mal. The pirate is good for a laugh though. Mal is definitely a lamewad for a good portion of this book, but it gets better, so I hope you get back to it soon. And thanks, Rashika 😉

  11. I’m actually middway through book three right now so imagine my suprise when i saw your review for book two! I mean it reminded me of so much that happened in this book lol that i’d completly forgotten! I agree this book didn’t suffer through second book syndrome and i’m thrilled you enjoyed it 🙂

    • LOVE this book. LOVE book 3. LOVE this series. I just finished yesterday, early evening. Don’t know what I think yet, I’m still in book hangover mood. Hopefully my thoughts will be more coherent in a day or two, and I hope you loved it too.

  12. The lack of communication between Alina and Mal is my only complaint with these books. I LOVED Sturmhond in this book. LOVED!!!!! I’m anxious to get the next book. Maybe I’ll make a quick trip to the store right now even though I was going to wait until Thursday when I go to the book signing. I’m suddenly not sure I can wait. 😉
    Candace recently posted…Young Adult Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

  13. haha the number of people that are Team Sturmhond…it’s so ridiculous 😛 And I must agree, that I’m on that team too 😉
    I was like you! I shipped Mal x Alina book one, but as soon as Sturmhond stepped on the scene, it was like move over Mal, there’s a new kid in town haha
    Can’t wait to read Ruin and Rising 😀 It’s going to take ages for it to get to me though, since I ordered the special B&N edition and shipping takes sooo long from the US (but I couldn’t resist the Darkling prequel hehe)
    Nara recently posted…Discussion: A Weird Confession About Diversity

    • *nose in the air* I’m not so fickle in my choices of book boyfriends. *sniff*

      LOL. But seriously, Team Mal 4-life. I like Sturmhond well enough, I just want Alina and Mal to get their HEA. WHAT IS THIS DARKLING PREQUEL YOU SPEAK OF??!

    • Once you read it, you won’t be so MEH, I bet. Hmph.

      KIDDING! But seriously, I was kind of lukewarm about starting it too, and then when I did, I LOVED it. And it’s a quick read, so even if you decide you hate it, you won’t have wasted much time. Shadow and Bone is $2.99 right now on Amazon, so you wouldn’t be wasting much money either. *poke*

  14. Whoa, Jessica–that theory about Mal blows my mind! Whaaaat. Do I have time to reread these two before I settle down with R&R? I feel like I should, but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist R&R this week! Blast. Well, I look forward to hearing if you were right.

    But really, Sturmhond. Mine.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews

  15. Odd – this blog isn’t saving my comment info anymore in the entry fields – it always used to. What HAPPPENED CRUEL CRUEL COMMENTING WORLD WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME!!!!!

    Anyways onto the book. Tsarpunk and that illustration HOT DIGGITY Damn. I’m so all about Sturmhond I think he’s the best guy so far in the series. I’m not all about the Darkliing either glad to hear you aren’t.

    Anyways BN just called saying they got my copy in of the exclusive edition – guess I know where I’m going tonight.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

    • I’ll ask Carmel to take a look when she gets back from her honeymoon. Probably something to do with adding commentluv. Sorry!

      Yeah, I like Sturmhond, but I’m still Team Mal. Can’t help it—I’m stubborn like that. BUT glad to hear that you aren’t Team Darkling too. *frowns at Team Darkling*

      I just ordered my copy. I actually stopped in the middle of writing this to do it, AND I ordered Earth Girl as well so I could get free shipping 😉

  16. I enjoyed the first book in this series and started this but for some reason I haven’t picked it back up – I must get back into it soon.

    I wasn’t a fan of the Darkling or Mal (and after reading the comment above about him kissing someone else on the booze I don’t think I’ll like him in this one) so I’m really curious about Sturmhond.

    A fabulous review!
    Sharon – Obsession with Books recently posted…Review: The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway

    • Yes, I’m pretty sure Sturmhond will get you through this one. He’s a PIRATE. He’s hilarious. AND he’s a flirt. I adore him. I hope you get back to series so you can see how great his is for yourself 😉 Thanks, Sharon!

  17. Yes!! Just yes, I want, I want, I want xDDDD Plus that tsarpunk eyecandy is sweeeet xDD One of those rarer YA series I do wanna devour, I was giving myself some time so #3 would be out 😀
    Oh baby, here I come *mwahahaha*

  18. Great review Jessica! And would you look at that! You were actually partly right about your spoiler speculations! I will comment on that more, equally cryptically on your forthcoming Ruin & Rising review!

    Like you, I was Team Mal all the way on S&B because as enticing as the Darkling could be, I was never sold on him as a love interest really. He might have been fascinating and all that, but I always thought that Alina was more fascinated by his power than by the Darkling himself.

    And Strumhond… well, he has more potential as love interested, cause he’s a rogue and fun and a bit like Han Solo, but he always seemed to be too focused on his goals to really pull me to his team.

    Mal was a pain in the arse in the book and it was hard to remain Team Mal sometimes, even if I knew he was suffering and longing and still loving Alina very much. Yeah, heads banged would have been well deserved!

    I felt the book was running around in circles a bit to get to the already expected conclusion, but reading the final book puts in perspectice whether this one suffered a bit from middle book syndrome or not as I originally thought!
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    • I know! But at the same time, I was SO wrong, LOL. The way Bardugo went about accomplishing what I thought I knew blew my mind as much as it would have if I had had no idea. And I look forward to your cryptic comments 😉

      And yeah, Team Mal FTW. Even if the Darkling hadn’t been a megalomaniac, or Nikolai had been less mercenary, neither of them had the history with Alina, so for me there was no competition. I’ve been Team Mal since, “I’ll meet you in the meadow.” GAH. *swoons*

      And yeah, I felt like there was some unnecessary angst in this one. When I want to bang heads, I start deducting stars when it goes on for as long as this did. BUT I still loved meeting Sturmhound and Tolya and Tamar, and I (clearly) still thought it was an awesome book.