Now that's how you do a freaking sequel!
Bardugo hit this one out of the park! I was truly enamored with Siege and Storm throughout the entirety of the book. Everything that I really enjoyed about Shadow and Bone was amped up to the max in this addition to the series. The character growth was just what I had hoped for, Alina really stepped up her game this time around. I was so thankful that her running from her problems did not last long. There really wasn't a dull moment in this one. By page 20 Mal and Alina were already thrust right back into the thick of things between the Darkling, and you were already on the edge of your seat thinking, how could they possibly escape this time?!
It was interesting to see the direction a lot of characters went in this book. While Alina shinned with her determination to defeat the Darkling, save Ravka, and unite the Grishas in a new and brilliant way, Mal seemed to drift further and further from his high pedestal that Alina held him on, and Alina himself. There were times when his petty jealousies and the way that he shied away from Alina's responsibilities as the Sun Summoner and her power in general, really grated on my nerves. It was sad to see Alina finally start to find herself and watch how that, in a way, started the deterioration of their relationship. I hate to think that he preferred her the walking shell that she was without a place in the world.
The Darkling is such an enigmatic, alluring character. Even with the countless atrocities he commits, and his abhorrent disregard for human life, there's still something about him that draws you in. He's like this dark puzzle that needs solving.
Is he just someone that possibly unwittingly became corrupted by his acquisition and thirst for power? Could this be Alina's fate as well? Oh and his new "gift" is truly frightening. I wonder just what it is costing him to perform these dark deeds. I am kind of dying to know what he truly thinks and feels! It's hard to decipher with him, and I really, really want to.
Now can we please talk about probably the BEST addition to this story....yes I am talking about Sturmhond. His addition was nothing short of absolutely brilliant! He's sheer entertainment.
Not only was there a HUGE unexpected plot twist concerning him (that was awesome!) but he also brought some incredible elements to this story that quite honestly took it to the next level. Probably most notably the comedic relief factor. He was so damn charming, cocky, quick witted, adventurous and mysterious...you were never sure what was going to happen next when he was involved, but you knew that it was going to fantastic! He just may be one of my new favorite characters EVER!
The ending of Siege and Storm was, in one word, EXPLOSIVE. I was shocked with how things happened and what ultimately went down. So many shock and awe moments.
I have no clue what will happen next, but I know that I have crazy high expectations at this point and I can't wait to find out!