In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, Belle is at the library and she is describing her favorite book. She tells the Librarian, “It’s my favorite! Far Off Places, Daring Sword Fights, Magic Spells, A Prince in disguise”. It took me a few years but I finally figured out that the book Belle was describing is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo!
Siege & Storm begins with Alina and Mal leaving Ravka and fleeing the Darkling after everything that occurred on the Shadow Fold at the end of Shadow and Bone. Alina and Mal try and make a life for themselves, but the Darkling is hunting them, and the stag’s ampliphier around Alina’s neck makes it impossible for her to truly disappear. Quickly the Darkling finds them and from that point on the action never stops! I really want to say more about the plot but at the risk of revealing spoilers I will stop there.
Alina as a character does a lot of changing and growing in this novel. At first she is reluctant to embrace her duty as the Sun Summoner. She wants to build a world with Mal but her destiny catches up with her and she realizes this is impossible. Alina must embrace the fact that she is the Sun Summoner. The problem is that each step she takes toward the Little Castle and the Grisha is a step away from her past and the girl she used to be. I think in this novel Alina comes to realize that there is no going back to the girl she was prior to meeting the Darkling, and that they will always be linked.
One of my favorite additions to this book was the character Strumhound, a privateer. I absolutely loved him and he stole every scene that he was in! He is charismatic, funny, and I enjoyed trying to riddle out his motives. Once again Bardugo takes me completely by surprise with his character and I can’t wait to see more of him.
That brings us to Mal and the Darkling, and the romance in this novel. I will just get it out of the way and say that I love how evil the Darkling is! And he gets even more “evil” in this book. The Darkling is the bad guy but I am constantly rooting for him. I like him so much more then Mal that it isn’t even a competition! Alina’s heart lies with Mal though, and the love triangle in this book shifts in some surprising ways. After finishing Siege & Storm I honestly have no idea if Alina will end up with Mal, The Darkling, someone else, or if she will be by herself. The fact that this series continually keeps me on my toes is something I really like.
Overall, Siege and Storm left me breathless. I can not wait to read the next book and find out what happens next. I already feel like there is a Darkling sized hole in my heart!
Thanks to Rachel @ Beauty and The Bookshelf for letting me borrow her ARC copy of Siege & Storm!