Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan imprint)
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, all while keeping her identity as
the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t run
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 she'll risk losing
everything to the oncoming storm.
Siege and Storm is just as dark and dangerous as its predecessor, just as deadly and filled with impossible magics. But things are changing now, Alina is changing, the Darkling is changing, and no one knows what's coming. Or what Alina will become.
The world in this book felt icy cold and dangerous, with chilled whispers in the air and shadows curling around ankles. Even in the bright sun, there was an air of caution. Perhaps a sign of things to come. Things were never going to be easy for Alina.
In Shadow and Bone came discovery for Alina, discovery of her power and what it meant. Now comes growth, now comes what she's going to do with it, now comes deciding her place and taking a stand. But what will her actions be? Having such power distances herself from Mal, from the dream of a normal life, but she needs to stop the Darkling. Building her power and saving Ravka is key, but what will it turn her into? In the end, will Mal recognize her? Will she recognize herself? Was this all part of the Darkling's plan for the both of them?
The new side characters brought light and humour to a serious book. Sturmhond the privateer, and the twins Tamar and Tolya, they were different and entertaining, shrouded in their own kind of mystique, but still powerful and cunning when need be.
There were moments of action and moments of easing (in a sense), but there was always tension, always fear, always uncertainty. The ending will leave readers demanding the last book, not willing to wait until 2014.
(I acquired an advance copy of this title at ALA Midwinter.)