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.
Book 2 in The Grisha trilogy
I dove into this book with high expectations. The first one in the series introduced us into this fantastic and exotic world, one that honestly brought out my inner adventure geek, and I couldn´t wait to get back in it. In Siege and Storm we get to see this entirely new side to Alina´s world, one that we had only heard about before. We learn more about the other side of the Fold, their customs and traits, and with that came the opportunity to see Grisha who were not under the Darkling´s power. Most of them did not abide by the whole color class system the Darkling had set up, and they were much more comfortable in their own skin. We get to see that when Alina and Mal meet Sturmhond and his little troupe of privateers (fancy word for legal pirates).
Ah, Sturmhond. He is by far my favorite character in the entire series and he is (literally) a bundle of surprises and witty banter. He´s dramatic, cocky, powerful and completely ridiculous. For example, there they were, several Grisha falling from the sky at breakneck speed inside a flying contraption, and what does our darling Sturmhond say when he drops to the deck? “This is cozy.”
And then we´ve got our main character, Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner (my name twin). Through the entire book I just kept thinking, holy crap, Alina has come far. She started off this tiny little girl, scared of even considering the idea that she might be Grisha, and then she remained tiny but grew in power. She became the most powerful Grisha to walk the earth and, although sometimes all that joojoo went up to her head, she became this incredibly strong woman. Instead of running away with Mal to avoid all the trouble, she took lead and shouldered all the responsibility so they could fight the Darkling and create a better world for the Grisha and normal humans alike. By the end of the book I was just like, HELL YEAH SHE´S COMING BACK!
Now, I must confess I have a soft spot for well-developed villains. I get all mushy and fuzzy when I get my hands around a tragic bad guy, and the Darkling pretty much wormed his way into my heart. To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with him, because although sometimes I just want to squeeze him and tell him everything´s going to be okay, most of the time I just want to throw him out of a really high window because he´s despicable. He manipulates, threatens, tortures, kills and does every horrible thing to mess with Alina and anyone who gets in his way. He´s nasty. But at the same time I wish we´d seen more of him.
Seriously though, the only person in this entire series with his head straight on his shoulders is Botkin.
There´s a lot more politics in this book, and we learn about the dynamics between Ravka and the countries surrounding it. The geography of the land suddenly becomes very important, too (the map that comes with the book really helps visualize the whole thing). Sometimes I felt like there was lack of plot, like, a lot less happened in this one than in Shadow and Bone, and it left me feeling as if some of the scenes did nothing to further the story. But at the same time, there were several elaborate scenes that managed to really build up the tension into a heart-wrenching climax.
Despite that little snag, the characters, scenery and story left me feeling excited for the next book. I can´t wait to read more about Alina and this teensy, tiny little problem called the Darkling.