Siege and Storm

by Leigh Bardugo
ages: 12+
First sentence: “The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the True Sea.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy passed on to me by my manager at work.
Others in the series: Shadow and Bone

If you haven’t read Shadow and Bone first, be warned: there are spoilers.

Mal and Alina are on the run after their little run-in (to say the least) with the Darkling, hiding out in far away places, running from both Alina’s new-found power and the Darkling, whom they know is hunting them. Alina’s gone back to hiding her power — not only that she’s the Sun Summoner, but the collar/amplifier that binds her to the Darkling.

Except they can’t run forever, and the Darkling captures them again. They’re taken north, this time, to find yet another mythical beast, to make yet another amplifier for Alina. Except things don’t go exactly as planned: Alina and Mal end up in yet another player’s grasp, back in Ravka, as Alina tries to figure out her power and how to stop the Darkling once and for all, and still — somehow — remain true to Mal as well as the person she’s becoming.

Okay, yeah, all that is very cryptic. But there are a couple of twists and turns that I don’t want to give away. The relationship between Mal and Alina still bugs me, but I do like where Bardugo is going with it. I just happen to like other characters (who shall Remain Nameless) better. I like what is happening with the magic in the world, and the way she uses mythology and religion and science to support it. I actually like what she’s done with the Darkling as well. He’s still a bit bully-ish, but there is some complexity showing. And the climax is pretty intense.

Again: I’m quite curious to see where she’s going with the final book in this trilogy. Too bad I have to wait a whole year for it!

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