Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: June 2017 (first published June 4th 2013)
Source: physical copy (purchased)


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.

While fleeing from the Darkling and his minions, Alina is haunted by the people she killed in the Unsea. Mal is her only companion on a journey to an unfamiliar land, running away from what she has become. Alina must stay away but her reputation as a Saint and the Sun Summoner make her attempts to lie low, hard and demanding.
Trying to untangle her complicated life and deciding that she cannot abandon Ravka to the Darkling's hands, Alina and Mal depart from their hiding spot in order to search the other amplifiers. Making Alina stronger will help her defeat the Darkling, but the amplifiers take a toll on her and Mal does not know if he likes who Alina is slowly becoming.
While on their sea adventures, they end up making new friends, and enemies, that will go with them through their new adventures in Ravka. While things get even more dangerous, the Darkling's powers seem to have an ever-growing influence on Alina.
This is the second book in a three book series, and it plays a preponderant role in the series storytelling, is the middle point, the preamble to the climax near the end, in the third book (which I am still to read). With this book, the author left the worldbuilding and introductions of the first one, this is a tome that is packed with action and development.
We are, indeed, introduced to some new characters, that is what helps make the story even better: the emergence of elements we did not know before. We are slowly,  but steadily, putting the multitude of puzzle pieces together. Sturmhund and his crew, as well and Mal's and Alina's actions are key elements to a game that is much bigger than them.
It is possible to state that this is a story that starts slow but, by the end of the book, you are clutching the pages in your hands, holding them tight, unable to take your eyes off them. Ravka is in danger and Alina is not the only player in the struggle for power. Even if she only wants the amplifiers in order to help her people she also actively seeks that power and will do almost anything to obtain it.
In this book, we get to know a new, darker, side of Alina. That is where the character development really stands out. Bardugo shows her readers that human beings are made of light and darkness and that reality is sometimes too much to bear. The budding love triangle that appears in these pages is a little baffling but it illustrates how real the struggles are when you have a relationship with another person, the concessions you have to make.
Overall this is a beautiful story, packed with adventure, strife and political intrigue. The story keeps getting better and better and I cannot wait to read the next instalment in this series.

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