Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews.WARNING: This review will contain spoilers from the first book."I'm not cruel, Alina. Just cautious."I almost laughed. "Is that why you had one of your monsters bite me?""That's not why," he said, his gaze steady. He glanced at my shoulder. "Does it hurt?""No," I lied.The barest hint of a smile touched his lips. "It will get better," he said. "But the wound can never be fully healed. Not even by Grisha.""This creatures––""The nichevo'ya."Nothings. I shuddered, remembering the skittering, clicking sounds they'd made, the gaping holes of their mouths. My shoulder throbbed. "What are they?"His lips tilted. The faint tracery of scars on his face was barely visible, like the ghost of a map. One ran perilously close to his right eye. He'd almost lost it. He cupped my cheek with his hand, and when he spoke, his voice was almost tender. "They're just the beginning," he whispered.After the battle on the Fold, Alina is being hunted across the True Sea, accompanied by Mal. At the same time, she is attempting to balance a new life with keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret.But she can't avoid her duties for long. The Darkling has developed even more dangerous powers, and Alina must return to Ravka with the help of a notorious privateer. And as her own powers grow, Alina finds herself sucked further into a battle of dark magic––a battle which might tear her away from Mal forever. After I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone, I had high expectations for Siege and Storm. Plus, I saw that a lot of other reviewers were raving over it and saying it was better than the first book. So, I was excited.Well … I was a bit let down, to be honest. Although I still liked it, I thought Siege and Storm was a slightly more disappointing follow-up than what I was hoping for, and there were a few key things that irked me.Something that bothered me about the first book was an issue with pacing. Although the very beginning and last half of it or so were very exciting, there was a large chunk in the middle where not much happened besides Alina living in the palace and learning stuff from the Darkling and getting makeovers from Genya, etc. and I started to get a little bored. I felt the second book had this same problem … only it was worse, and the dull chunk of it lasted for a lot longer. It started off strong and action-packed, and got that way towards the very end as well. But a majority of the book, I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen.In my opinion, this book suffered from Mockingjay Syndrome––meaning, too much of the plot consisted of the main character just passively getting paraded around while everyone fawned over her like, "Ooh you're an important figurehead now! Everyone adores you! Yaaaay!" It just got repetitive. Another thing that bothered me in this book was the slut-shaming/girl-hate that was going on. Now, this is something I saw a lot of other reviewers noted about the first book. I didn't really notice it much when I read Shadow and Bone, although after I read it and went through several reviews that mentioned it, I saw that people had a point. I did have this feeling throughout the first book that Alina had a bad habit of measuring other women's values by their looks.Maybe it was just because I had an eye open for it this time, but I thought the problem became a lot more apparent in Siege and Storm. I especially had problems with the descriptions of Zoya. Just a couple of examples:1. It took everything in me not to turn around and watch Mal's reaction. Zoya was the Grisha who had done all she could to make my life miserable at the Little Palace. She'd sneered at me, gossiped about me, and even broken two of my ribs. But she was also the girl who had caught Mal's interest so long ago in Kribirsk. I wasn't sure what had happened between them, but I doubted it was just lively conversation.2. Who was I kidding? I hated even sitting in the same room with her. She looked like a Saint. Delicate bones, glossy black hair, perfect skin. All she needed was a halo. Mal paid her no attention, but a twisting feeling in my gut made me think he was ignoring her a little too deliberately. I knew I had more important things to worry about than Zoya. I had an army to run and enemies on every side, but I couldn't seem to stop myself.So … I see what people mean. It's like, I get that Zoya is mean to Alina and broke her ribs and all that. But it seems like that's not the reason Alina hates her; she hates Zoya because she's pretty and because she attracted Mal's attention. And maybe this wouldn't rub me the wrong way so much if Zoya wasn't such a flat character whose only motives are to make Alina's life miserable … for pretty much no reason.In addition, it's just like … none of the secondary female characters are fleshed out much, and that bothers me. It seems like Alina is constantly just criticizing her female peers. I mean, there's Genya, but still––Alina is always just stressing how beautiful Genya is, and she's just kind of like a magic fairy godmother prancing around giving everyone makeovers.Probably the only female character who escaped this trend was Tamar, and I thought she was pretty cool … Hopefully she becomes an even more major character in the next book. … And/or Alina could just stop being so rude about other women all the time. That'd be nice. In relation to that problem, I got annoyed with the relationship between Alina and Mal in this book. I really liked them together in Shadow and Bone, but I felt that in the sequel there was a lot of unnecessary drama/jealousy between them. So, that was a letdown for me. I thought they were really sweet and adorable together, and now it's just like … ugh, why did everything have to get so messed up? I understand adding tension/drama just to liven up the story a little, but … I don't know. I feel like it's clichéd and it seemed a bit forced to me. All that said, there were still a lot of things I liked about this book. I like the world Leigh Bardugo has created (although, as I mentioned in my review of the first book, I don't think the whole "Russian" thing is needed since it's not fully realized). There's a very intense and mysterious atmosphere to the whole thing. I'm also still very interested in the Darkling as a character … he's very scary, especially with the new powers he develops in this second installment. Although, I'm still waiting to see his character become more fleshed out. I still don't really see what his motives are for becoming such a power-hungry creep, and it kind of makes him just seem like a stereotypical two-dimensional villain. But I think he has a lot of potential and I'm really hoping there will be more to his development in the third book.Also, I really liked the addition of Sturmhond. I think the story needed a good comic relief character, and I found him to be very funny––one of those witty and slightly infuriating types of characters (which I am a sucker for). But he's not just there to be funny, and he actually has an important role to play in the story.Over all, I did enjoy this book. I didn't like it as much as I liked the first book, and I still think there are a lot more things the author can develop … Hopefully the third book, [b:Ruin and Rising|14061957|Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)|Leigh Bardugo||19699754] will accomplish that.- Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews