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Komal Mikaelson

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Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo Update: I'm downgrading the rating to 4. When I look back now, it simply wasn't a 5 star read. I was high on the Darling, Sturmhond, whatever when I completed it initially.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars. 4 stars

Initial Reaction After Completion

How can you end a book like that?

Siege and Storm was phenomenal. Not as good as Shadow and Bone but scarily close. The book shows much developed and mature characters. The theme itself leans a bit more towards politics and corrupting influence of power rather than teenage drama.
In a nutshell: I loved it. Loved everything almost everything to pieces.

Starting with the stuff I liked,

Man. That guy was the major part of why I liked loved the book. He is brilliantly shrewd, fleetingly vulnerable, adorably idiosyncratic and easy-to-love character in the entire novel.
Charismatic. Irresistibly magnetic.

He is the...*trails off*
As the story progresses, we see him...*trails off. Again*
Sturmhond flawlessly...*what the fuck*

Okay. I can't talk anything more about him without giving away MAJOR-ruin-your-life spoilers. So, that is all you get.
I wish I could include some of his dialogues and eccentricities, because that guy is hilarious. But SPOILER!

The Plot
The story continues with the Alina and Mal escaping The Fold and trying to cobble together a living in a new city when predictably the Darkling captures them and they aboard the Volkvolny to cross the True Sea.
The story is as riveting and twisting as ever.
The Darkling is more formidable and strikingly breath taking than ever before. He has acquired some new badass powers and is determined to push himself beyond the boundaries of Grisha.
It's not as much with the plot twists that make it this overwhelming, it is the character development, the undercurrent of dread and the slow creeping darkness.
We don't know exactly what is happening, what characters are at play, who to trust and where is the book leading to.
The good, nail-biting, what's-gonna-happen-next suspense that keeps you to the edge of your seats.

Never thought I'd actually include her in The Good section

Alina develops incredibly in this novel. When in #1, she comes out to be timid and insecure, in #2 she does a complete 180. She doesn't try to fend off all the shit she's dealt with, rather accepts them and works brilliantly with it. There is this new, unfamiliar edge to her thoughts and she gives off the vibes of developing into a darker, bitter version of herself, which was mysterious and alluring.
Can't say I'm complaining. I like version 2.0 of Alina much much more than Alina 1.0

Yes, that's about it. The writing, character development and world building was just as stunning as in Shadow and Bone.

Now, that stuff that made me stave off half a star aka
The bad Not-so-Good stuff.

The Darkling
I'm dying to know your actual name!

Anyway, yeah.
Don't take this part to mean the Darkling disappointed me in #2. Nope. He was just as captivating and terrifying as in the first installment.
I just feel that there wasn't enough time given to him. I mean, C'MON! the guy just wasn't there enough. We just met him in the beginning and at the end showdown. NOOOO!
I missed him so much :(
We did meet him intermittently in Alina's "dreams" and I still don't understand how that worked. Obviously, the Darkling had added to his imposing stash of powers AND WE DON'T GET TO KNOW WHAT.
You CANNOT do that Ms. Bardugo. You have to the bad guy enough screen time. Hmph.

Mal and Alina

Drab. Dull. Grating on the nerves.
That just succinctly described what I felt throughout their romance. They are just not meant to be! Let it go, Alina.
Mal has to be the most insecure, shitty love interest. The whole of Ravka is falling apart, the Darkling might annihilate them at any moment, their chances of survival are pretty slim, the odds are stacked against them, but that guy just doesn't get it. He is insecure over Alina and the Darkling and Alina and *ahem*. Seriously?! Give her a break. She has enough to deal with without you adding your childish worries.
I was absolutely jumping with excitement when the Darkling was able to drive a rift between them even when he wasn't present with them! Kudos to the guy!

And Alina.
She too is pining over lost loves and broken hearts. This drama and angst I felt, was superfluous.

So, that is about it.

Conclusion: A must-read, of course. A stunning sequel to Shadow and Bone which will undoubtedly capture your hearts and twist your feelings into mush. And, hence, I can safely say the Grisha trilogy has been inducted into my Favorite-Series-Ever shelf.

Now, I'm gonna go and mark my calendar for release date of Ruin and Rising, which is somewhere in 2014. 2014!
Damn it.
Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3. Kill Mal in #3.