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Leigh Bardugo – Siege and Storm

June 28, 2017

33. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (2013)
The Grisha Trilogy, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Shadow and Bone

Read By: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 11h 52m (448 pages)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 15 June 2017
Finished: 26 June 2017

Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I’d enjoyed the first one so I figured what the heck?
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 13 Jul 2016.

Alina summons
the sun’s power, but what is
it doing to her?

Summary: Alina and Mal have escaped from the Darkling and fled Ravka, but their freedom doesn’t last for long. Soon they’re back in his clutches, and he’s got a plan to find a second magical amplifier – to go with the stag’s collar that Alina wears – so that he can use even more of Alina’s Sun Summoner power. However, his plan is thwarted when Alina and Mal get help from an unexpected source – Prince Nikolai, younger son of the royal house – who has some decidedly unconventional ideas about ruling. Alina isn’t sure she can trust Nikolai – it’s entirely possible that he, too, just wants to use her power for his own ends; an impression that’s not helped by the hordes of pilgrims who view Alina as a literal saint. But Alina might not have a choice except to work with Nikolai, since she’s growing increasingly distant from Mal, and increasingly distracted by her fears regarding the Darkling, and the army of monsters he’s created.

Review: This book suffers from a serious, serious case of middle-of-the-trilogy-itis. The first few chapters are fast and exciting and action-packed, and there’s a big battle at the end that involves some major plot movement (almost too much; it felt somewhat rushed.) But everything in between the first few chapters and the last few chapters is a whole lot of set-up for the final book, with very little actually happening. If Bardugo could have condensed the constant grind of Alina worrying about her own power and worrying about finding the third amplifier and worrying about fitting in with the grisha and worrying about the people who think she’s a saint and worrying about whether or not her power is driving a wedge between her and Mal and worrying about her visions of the Darkling and do they mean she’s going mad, this book would have been half its length, if that. I actually listened to this book at 1.5 speed on Audible, not because the narrator speaks particularly slowly (Lauren Fortgang in general does a nice job with the narration), but just because so little was happening that I was eager for the story to actually get somewhere. While I continue to enjoy the Russian-inspired setting and the magical system, the novelty of it has largely worn off by this point, leaving it feeling indistinguishable from the many many other YA fantasy trilogies I’ve read. And maybe I’m being curmudgeonly, but the pacing/plotting problems meant that this book wound up dancing on the edge of being dull, especially since so much of what Alina is worrying about are topics that I’ve seen handled elsewhere in YA fiction before. I’m sure I’ll read the third one – after Bardugo spent this entire book setting up (what I’m hoping is) the payoffs in the third book, I do want to see where it goes – but this one definitely did not blow me out of the water. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I enjoyed the first book but this one was underwhelming; I’m reserving judgement on the series as a whole until I can see whether the third book makes this one worth the slog.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

I’m in the minority on this one; most people seem to really love this series, slow second book included.
Want to check out some other reviews?: Foil the Plot, Good Books and Good Wine, Ivy Book Bindings, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the True Sea.

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