The Secret Life of the Ravkan Saint: Part 2 (Now with Privateers!!)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
★★★★ — 80%

It’s been five months since I read Shadow and Bone and I’ve finally read the sequel. I like to be vile and unpredictable and!! I find a lot of joy in waiting as long as I possibly can to read a book WRITTEN BY MY FAVORITE AUTHOR.

Yeah, that was a lie.

The truth is that I’m lazy and irrational and I’d rather fall into a bowl of soup than admit it. MY BAD DECISIONS NEED TO GO AND HAUNT SOMEONE ELSE.


synopsis

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 was a little nervous starting Siege and Storm because I loved Shadow and Bone so much and I didn’t want to be disappointed with how the story would play out, but I shouldn’t have worried because Leigh Bardugo is my favorite author AND IT’S A CRIME TO DOUBT, but also because it was dang good and it didn’t deserve that kind of cruelty.

“You were like a stranger, Alina. Beautiful. Terrible.”

^^ HA, Alina. You’re weird and I don’t know you anymore.

Siege and Storm was chock-full of twists and turns and little devilish surprises and it was so mean but I loved it anyway. I THINK I FELL OUT OF MY CHAIR ONCE OR TWICE, BUT EVERYTHING’S OK. There was zero calmness, but I’m not here for calm.

I’m here for cookies.

however, I exaggerate.

  • The plot wasn’t super complicated; I was just in a state of Bardugo Blindness (my fatal disease, please donate) where I was just so immersed in her world that I didn’t see the twists coming.
  • Even though the plot wasn’t all that complex, the pace was still pretty fast! The story kicked off in a rush that I wasn’t used to in a Bardugo novel, and even with its slower parts, it was set at a faster pace than Shadow and Bone. So if you need fast paced books with every fiber of your being/murder someone if you don’t get them, GOOD NEWS!

I had no idea how much I missed Leigh’s descriptive style, and I soaked it up like a starving little decrepit spONGE from the very first sentence. Leigh perfectly balances lyricism and prose and never lets her descriptions last too long or feel out of place AND I AM JUST SO PROUD OF MY LITTLE FIEND ASDFJALDSFKAJLASKJK. I also loved how she let Alina’s personality show through her narration. Alaina was super moody, but it was interesting seeing how those Weird Saint Moods™ would change her narrative style and make generally everything stranger ahahahah YAY. Please don’t forget that the dialogue was also perfect in every way ok thank you.

BUT THE WORLD? MY DELICIOUS, BLACK, ELEGANT DARKLING WORLD?? Where did it go???? The whole whisper-of-steampunk thing didn’t jive with me and just the word “goggles” itself made me want to throw the book at a wall and I’m aware I threaten to do that A LOT, but I! MEAN! IT! I hate googles and I hate steampunk and I hate being moderate about anything.

the mixed feelings® character scoop:

  • Alina got a little irritating and freaky-Saint on us in this book, but mainly, she was a balanced mix of powerful and vulnerable. Even if she does annoy me sometimes, everything she does and feels is understandable…frustrating as it may be. AND I MEAN FRUSTRATING !!!! /pulls hair/ She has a really interesting arc developing, and I’m really enjoying how it’s playing with the story and the other characters’ arcs. She gets, like, a B+ if I’m grading her. Burn, Alina. Burn.
  • The Darkling is ever my favorite (no one is surprised), but I’m really curious about his past and his motives and his life in general and how he got such great fashion sense and how he has such great hair. I wish there would’ve been more of his character in Siege and Storm, and being real, I’d rather him just take over the series instead. USURP THE BOOKS, MAN! I KNOW YOU HAVE IT IN YOU
  • Mal, though. What the heck dude??? Also: WHAT THE HECK, DUDE??? At the beginning he was such a great friend to Alina and I was really starting to warm up to him, BUT NO. He gets super broody and irritating and just…please send him away. Novyi Zem would be great.
  • And of course, everyone’s favorite privateer, NIKOLAI. I was definitely iffy about him for a while (why though??? I don’t know either????), but he charmed his way into my stony heart and got the better of me in the end. HE WAS JUST SO HILARIOUS AND IT WAS WONDERFUL. I demand a spin-off series at once! (Update 4/15/2018: [he gets one] Ok.)

The supporting cast was great, too, but not as developed as the side cast in Six of Crows, which is totally acceptable. Six of Crows can never be topped and all the books understand that.

Siege and Storm was a wild ride and gave me a mess of feelings and I had a fabulous time reading, thinking, and obsessing over it. It was masterfully written, excellently executed, and leaves you wanting to do nothing but start back at the first page. I need the conclusion now bUT I’M TOO AFRAID TO START IT NOW RIP ME


dirty talk

Language: Some mild profanity because these characters are NOT angels heH. (A, btd, dn.)

Violence: Large, shadowy creatures attack in droves and cause many deaths and injuries. (Sad.) Those scenes might seem a bit intense at times, they never step over the bounds of gory and are very few.

Sensuality: Some kissing and innuendo. Unfortunately teenage boys are a thing.

Substances: A few characters drink; a supporting character gets drunk a few times. #poorlifedecisions