Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

You Can Never Go Home Again, Unless You’re Kidnapped And Forced To

Mandy C. is thankful that Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm doesn’t shy away from the action, even though it’s the second book in a trilogy.

You Can Never Go Home Again, Unless You’re Kidnapped And Forced To

BOOK REPORT for Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Cover Story: The Light Breaks Through
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Tell Us a Skazka*
Bonus Factor: Secret Identities
Anti-Bonus Factor: Lack Of Communication
Relationship Status: A Great Second Date

Warning! The following review is about the second book in The Grisha trilogy. If you’ve not read Shadow and Bone, I urge you to do so now before you continue any further. As always, I will refrain from major spoilers for Siege and Storm, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the overarching storyline of the series included below.

Cover Story: The Light Breaks Through

I’m still getting the feeling of The Nutcracker from this cover, but the cold, wintry vibe isn’t there this time around. The sunbeams peeking out from behind the buildings seem to be pushing the clouds away and that gives it a hopeful feel. I also totally dig the way the dragon has been made a part of the title type.

The Deal:

After the battle on the Fold, Alina and Mal have escaped the Darkling’s grasp and have taken refuge across the True Sea in Noyvi Zem. Their peaceful (if covert) life is soon cut short, however, when the Darkling and his personal Grisha guard track them down and force them onto a ship back to Ravka.

The ship is captained by Sturmhond, a young pirate/”privateer” who commands a crew of free Grisha, including Heartrender twins Tamar and Tolya. Sturmhond seems like a typical pirate—out for profit and for himself—but appearances can be very deceiving.

Alina and Mal do reach the shores of their home country, but the path they take is full of unexpected twists and turns.

BFF Charm: Yay

In Shadow and Bone, Aline started out a bit of a mouse. She couldn’t quite comprehend how an orphan from the middle of nowhere could hold so much power within. By the end of the book, however, she’d grown into herself and her abilities. At the start of Siege and Storm, she’s the same Alina we grew to love in the first book, and throughout the book she only gets stronger. I’m a little frustrated with her because of some of the choices she makes and the thoughts she keeps to herself—why so few people understand that secrets are not better kept to oneself, I’ll never understand—but I still think she’d make an excellent and powerful friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Although Alina and Mal are together after their escape from the Darkling, their relationship isn’t all smooth sailing in Siege and Storm. While they’re on the run, they’re rarely alone. And when they get recaptured, the many situations they face or are forced into once they return home make everything harder for the two.

Talky Talk: Tell Us a Skazka*

I once again found myself really enjoying the world Leigh Bardugo has created for the characters and plot of the Grisha trilogy. Perhaps it was because I had been engrossed in this world before, but the Russian-esque language and lexicon of this book didn’t throw me as much as it did while I read Shadow and Bone.

Bardugo has a wonderful way with world-building, and she very nearly escapes all of my typical complaints about the second books in trilogies. (I am happy to say that I have none of the Bridge Book Blues that often come with second books.) There was a definite amount of transitioning, but there was also a whole lot of action and plot-progression that help Siege and Storm stand out.

*Skazka, according to Wikipedia, “is the English transcription of Сказка, the Russian word literally meaning story.”

Bonus Factor: Secret Identities

People who are not who they seem to be is a running theme throughout these books, be it characters who don’t know what they’re capable of or individuals who hid their true nature to the outside world. Bardugo has a knack for reveals that are always entertaining and often surprising.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Lack Of Communication

There are very few things that frustrate me more than seeing characters keep important details from the people they should be trusting with everything. Secrets do not make things easier in the long run. Most often, they just make everything so much worse.

Casting Call:

I’ll stick with my initial casting for the three main characters, and add:

Aaron Tveit as Sturmhond

Sturmhond has a swagger that cannot be tamed, which I think Aaron would be amazing at. The character, however, is also described as having a lumpy, oft broken and poorly re-set nose, ruddy hair, an overly pointed chin and muddy green eyes. I hope the production has a good makeup team.

Tim Chiou as Tolya

Tolya is a giant guy who doesn’t say much but is very intimidating. Tim is 6’2”’, which isn’t exactly Andre the Giant sized (Andre was 7’4”), but he can definitely pull off the strong, silent and serious look.

Grace Park as Tamar

Tamar is Tolya’s twin sister. She’s much less large, but no less deadly. Grace has a lot of practice at playing a badass lady (e.g., her roles in Battlestar Galactica and Hawaii 5-0).

Relationship Status: A Great Second Date

Book, I’m quite happy with the way you didn’t string me along from the end of Shadow and Bone and do nothing more than prepare me for Ruin and Rising (the third in the trilogy, which releases in June 2014). I appreciate that you took the time to advance your story in an engaging way, but didn’t leave behind all of the action and storytelling I loved so much upon our first meeting. Our second date was lovely; I look forward to our third.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book. I received neither half-price Halloween candy nor money for this review. Siege and Storm is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
K