Still rolling ahead with my reads of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I am nervous to bring you this review. Because of the Netflix series, I decided to pick up this SUPER hyped series, and I’m not sure I’m at the hype phase. If you read my review of Shadow and Bone, you will know I wasn’t the biggest fan. While I liked Siege and Storm better, I’m by no means obsessed. Keep reading this book review to find out why.
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’m not sure how I feel about Siege and Storm. I have this one note I made while reading that wonders if this is turning into a dating show for Alina….and I don’t not mean it. Let me explain. In Siege and Storm we meet Nikolai – who I really like – and then there’s Mal and The Darkling. But it becomes clear, pretty early on, that Mal may love Alina, but he loves who Alina used to be. An Alina who could just run away and live in a cottage and be who Mal used to know. But this Alina feels this desire to help people, to use her power to save the people around her, while also just generally wanting to use her power. You go Alina!
So while Siege and Storm seems to be focused on, “will they, won’t they” movement, for me, it’s pretty clear that unless Mal completely gets on board with this new Alina, it will never work out. While I think that’s super realistic – to have someone in love with someone you aren’t anymore – I was just a bit tired of it by the middle of the book. Alina’s potential suitors very much represent her past, what her future could be if she gave into her raw power, and a possible future. I guess we’ll see in Ruin and Rising who she chooses (although I hope she choose nobody and just lives her best life).
Because I seriously dig a heroine, or just a girl, who wants to be powerful for the sake of power. Who may make some mistakes, but is allowed to want power not for the sake of the world or to be noble and selfless, but because she loves how it feels. And while things definitely happened in Siege and Storm, by the end I definitely felt like this was a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of situation. Especially as a lot of the overall plot action happens within the last quarter of the book. So when I think about the first three quarters, most of it is Alina struggling to figure out the leader she wants to be and Malina.
I am still going to read Ruin and Rising. Mostly because I’ve come this far and I am curious about Alina’s final state – whatever that might be. As a whole, I liked Siege and Storm better, but not by a landslide. Considering the hype though, I am pretty nervous to solidify my opinion on the series as a whole…Find Siege and Storm on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.