Publisher- Orion Books.
*This review has spoilers for the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone*
(A Brief) Synopsis:
Something dark is brewing, and Alina, with the power to command and produce light at her very fingertips, has become a martyr to the people. The Darkling is out there, and he is coming, and she must be ready.
What I thought:
At the beginning of the year, I read Shadow and Bone, and, although I did enjoy it, it certainly wasn't all I had hoped for. Still, I already owned a copy of the sequel (and a gorgeous edition at that; the covers in this series are really lovely) and a few months after that (around the time I posted my review) I started reading this, the sequel.
And I liked it.
Unfortunately, though, I didn't feel that way for a long time. It was a fairly slow going read for me, and when I finally felt like I got a hold of the direction the story was going in, understanding the new characters and starting to rather like some of them (hello, Sturmhond), I suddenly found myself... perplexed. At the end of Shadow and Bone you get a sense that the plot is going in a particular direction, and for less than thirty pages. And it didn't really feel like there was a whole lot of point in having Mal and Alina hideout, only to, well, get found. Within twenty pages. But still, the inevitable was the inevitable and it brought forth an array of new faces (again, hello, Sturmhond) and yet: with the reappearance of the Darkling, with the interaction between him and Alina, I felt as if things had gone backwards and everyone had let their hatred for eachother become a little bit dulled. No one seemed like they particularly wanted vengeance, and things went along plesantly enough, opposing sides getting along quite well, it seemed.
In retrospect, I feel like I can break Siege and Storm up into a lot of little sections, all of which are distinct from the other plot arcs of the novel. And sadly, I feel like they never really melded together completely, so I see them as disjointed sections rather than a whole. Training, running. Conversations, romances. Fights, kisses. It felt to me as if there were a couple of different plot arcs here, and they didn't quite fit- almost, but not quite. Add to that the fact that the characters frustrated me, their behaviour almost unbelievable at times (hello, Mal. Hello. You have not once failed to amaze me.), and although Alina was admittedly a little better at standing up for herself, someone in her position... I think it was her weakness that she wasn't strong. Her emotions clouded her, her insecurity, and while those factors made her human and should have made her relatable, it merely frustrated me that she took so long to get her act together and separate her feelings from her work, or even bring the two together and make it a stable foundation. Instead she pined and whined and got carried away, and I was left giving her much side eye.
I had really high hopes for this series, but it seems like it just isn't for me. Which is okay. I still love the covers, and I still enjoyed most of the first book, and I still like the Darkling and Sturmhond. But I know I won't be reading Ruin and Rising, and I know that's okay, too. Some series we just don't need to finish.