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.
Shadow and Bone, though spectacular, had not completely enthralled me, but Siege and Storm blew me away. Now I know what everyone has been going on about! The world of Grisha was terrific, yes, but this book is more about the characters, specifically Alina – who is now a hunter Saint, a powerful Grisha and a simple girl with too big a burden. The story also seemed to pace better than the earlier book (which was too fast) and we get a story that moves wildly from her and Mal’s escape, them being returned to Ravka, she assuming her true power and hungering for more. Yes, Alina is rendered in complex colors as a Grisha, a Sun Summoner, and the Darkling’s protege. On one hand, she needs the power to defeat him, but she also wants that power for herself. Mal, though still by her side, doesn’t understand this new girl and her loneliness, which leads to some tense and dramatic moments – his insecurity warring with their relationship.
The great addition to this series is undoubtedly the very entertaining Nikolai – the second too-clever-fox prince. His personality is all witty humor – but he is a brilliant strategist and a pragmatic individual. He and Alina have nice banter going on, but I don’t really expect much on that front. The Darkling is terrifying this time around, by which I mean – yay, great villain. All his vulnerability has been stripped from him, but his hunger for power also shows a deep seated vindication for Grisha, who have long been used as servants. Though he is definitely evil, I can’t help but agree that some of his arguments do make sense. In any case, the bond between him and Alina is something that is hinted at but not much explored. As for the world, I loved how we get more insight into the workings of Grisha and the magic or science of their world. Overall, a brilliant book!