Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Siege and Storm starts off right after the first novel. Alina and Mal are living a simple life, hiding from the Darkling after running from his power. But Alina's life is not that simple, and she is found by the Darkling and his men. They force her back onto a ship to head back to the Little Palace where Alina will join forces with the Darkling again.
Before going to the Little Palace, though, the Darkling is making a short pit stop: to get another amplifier from a mystical creature. When they find the sea creature, things take a twist when an unexpected ally appears: the captain of the ship she was on. He went by the name Sturmhond but that was just an alias. He was just using the Darkling until he had a chance to overturn him, and then he took Alina and Mal far away from the Darlking when he was under attack.
Now, Alina has two amplifiers on herself that can never be taken off. With all of this power going on inside of her, she is not sure who she is anymore. And with the Darkling manifested now after their last battle, she knows she is not strong enough to defeat him even with these two magical powers helping her Sun Summoner ability.
And Sturmhond ended up being the second prince, so now she is stuck back in Ravka and becoming the leader to the Second Army.
Nothing about this is what Alina wants, but she cannot deny the responsibility she has now with the amplifiers. And she's also on a mission to try to find the 3rd and final amplifier to master her ability.
But the Darkling is cooking up a battle that Alina is terrified she cannot survive through. Time is running out and Alina doesn't have the slightest idea what the outcome is going to be.
This was a great addition to the series that Leigh Bardugo created. I did find myself a bit...distracted during this book because there was a ton of action at the beginning of the novel and then it got more into the politics and the details of who is buy what for the army, etc. I wanted Alina and Mal to be traveling through the countries and making their way to their next mission, but for most of the novel, Alina was being dragged down by the palace and all of their issues. There was action at the end of the book, but that seemed too rushed, especially since I was looking forward to that happening. I would have taken more pages of that fight than the preparation for it in the book.
The other thing that I got annoyed about was the relationship between Alina and Mal. Mal was becoming more and more agitated about staying at the palace and not being able to do anything with Alina because she was working with the Army and the royal family, whereas Mal had to stay out of it most of the time. He was getting jealous and I think that he ought to realize that Alina is something special and if he can't handle her having to be in a thousand different places, then he needs to just let her go.
Because as Alina says in the book, she's not the girl that he grew up with anymore. She is so much more and Mal needs to understand that in order to be with her.
I honestly think that Alina needs to be with someone other than Mal. He doesn't appreciate this new Alina, and if he can't see past all of the responsibilities she has, then he needs to walk away. Though Mal does remind Alina of who she was, and keeps her from self combustion sometimes with those thoughts, so maybe he is good for her. Gah, I have no idea about those two, to be honest!
Overall, I liked this book, but not as much as the first one. I'm excited to see how the third and final book turns out and what is to come for Alina, who has already made so many sacrifices so far in her life!
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