Hi everybody!!! Welcome to our blog! Since this is our first post, we're going to quickly introduce ourselves.
Hannah: I'm Hannah.
Natalie: And I'm Natalie. And we will conversationally review books.
Hannah: I think we should tell them a little more about us, don't you think?
Natalie: I guess.
Hannah: I love to read (obviously), dance, and be annoyed with my dear friend Natalie. I also play viola in my school's orchestra. I'm trying to come up with what my favorite books are, but I can't think of any right now, so here's a link to my Goodreads. I'm currently reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
Natalie: And I think Hannah's insane for reading that giant, 1,000 page monstrosity.
Hannah: I only have ninety pages left.
Natalie: You're crazy.
Hannah: *sticks her tongue out at Natalie*
Natalie: I guess I have to introduce myself now...I'm currently reading Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. Here's my Goodreads and here's a list of things I do:
- Read (Duh. I feel like we shouldn't even have to say this. Why would someone start a book blog if they don't like to read?)
- Figure skate
- Play the violin
- Take care of our blog mascot, Cole the Royal Rat (more on him to come)
- Annoying my annoying friend Hannah
Hannah: We should probably get on with the review now.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
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.
(picture and synopsis from Goodreads)
WE WILL SPOIL THE HECK OUT OF THIS BOOK AND THE PREVIOUS BOOK, SHADOW AND BONE. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED, SKIP TO THE RATINGS SECTION!
Natalie: It's so pretty!!!
Hannah and Natalie: *squealing about the cover and the map and the chapter headings*
Natalie: And now that we've gotten that out of the way...
Hannah: ...we will now begin discussing this book which is as well written as it is pretty.
Natalie: So apparently the Darkling can create creepy shadow people now.
Hannah: That was very disturbing, but it was an interesting insight as to how evil he was and how much he hated the traditional Grisha rules since he was actually creating matter, which goes against the nature of their powers.
Natalie: That's very deep. Readers, don't get used to this.
Natalie: The earliest death is this book was Ivan, the Darkling's right hand man. I thought this was surprising since Ivan had played a somewhat important role in Shadow and Bone. His death was fitting though, since he was killed the same way he had killed others.
Hannah: It also shows that the Darkling can be defeated since his right hand man, who had to be powerful to get that position, was taken down. If they can bring down Ivan, the Darkling can't be invincible.
Natalie: Ivan's death was a crack in the Darkling's armor.
While we're speaking of death, I thought an important decision was made when Strumhond decided that they should fight back and hunt the volcra. The volcra were frightening enemies for a long time and when they decided that they weren't going to be afraid of them anymore, the shift in power was notable.
Hannah: Another important power shift was when Alina decided she was tired of being a pawn and symbol and decided to lead the Second Army. I really liked seeing Alina take charge and not just be another figurehead.
Natalie: One of the more disturbing scenes was when Alina rode by the peddlers who were selling supposed relics of her bones.
Hannah: That was creepy!
Natalie: It was weird that they were worshipping her as a saint when they knew nothing except that she was the Sun Summoner.
Hannah: Let's talk about Nikolai/Strumhond for a bit.
Natalie: I loved his character.
Hannah: He wasn't my favorite character, but I did like his wit and comebacks.
Natalie: And that is where we differ. He was definitely my favorite character.
Hannah: Mal was my favorite.
Natalie: I liked him for the most part, except at the end when he was off brooding in the woods and such.
Hannah: Even though Nikolai wasn't my favorite, I enjoyed when he told Alina not to punch him and then kissed her.
Natalie: And he's the younger prince! Did you see that coming?
Hannah: Nope. That was surprising.
Natalie: I didn't even remember that there was a second prince, but it was still out of the blue.
Hannah: Now back to Mal! I liked how Alina made him blush when she told him he was a much better kisser than Nikolai after the don't-punch-me-but-I'm-going-to-kiss-you thing.
Natalie: That was funny.
Hannah: I enjoyed Alina's sarcasm throughout the book.
Natalie: Alina and Mal's banter was hilarious! (For example, the goiter conversation in the first chapter.)
Hannah: Speaking of witty dialogue, one of my favorite lines was when Baghra told Alina "You couldn't make a meat pie from what you know" (page 256). I really love Baghra's character.
Natalie: I felt really bad for her in this book. But what happened to her showed how much the Darkling didn't care about anybody else.
One of my favorite parts was when the Grisha did this: *hand gesture of fingers interlocking*
Hannah: I liked that too, but I'm going to laugh at your description.
Natalie: It's a good description. They converged and did this: *repeat of hand gesture*
Hannah: It works, but it's also funny.
Natalie: It's a good representation of what happened! Are you done making fun of me now?
Hannah: I never said it wasn't a good representation. Moving on...
Natalie: I didn't like the addition of the third love interest in Nikolai. It bothers me that the Darkling is considered a love interest at all. That's like being on Team Warner. Guys, Warner and the Darkling are the BAD GUYS. They can have some redeeming qualities, but that doesn't change the fact that they do bad things and I do not want the protagonist to end up with them. And the whole thing with the Darkling in Alina's bedroom was CREEPY. How can you like the dude when he does stuff like that?
*end of rant*
Hannah: I think your rant covered everything about that topic so...
Natalie: Did you see Vasily being stupid and making a pact with the Darkling coming?
Hannah: Well I certainly saw the being stupid part coming. I didn't predict that he would make the pact with the Darkling, but it wasn't that surprising when I thought about it.
Natalie: Vasily's death confused me. Can you really die from getting your arm ripped off?
Hannah: Well, can't he if he lost enough blood?
Natalie: It seemed like he died very fast.
Hannah: Well, he did die, so in the least morbid way possible, that's good.
Natalie: I loved how David was quiet and reserved and then he was all determined and ready to go down fighting in the end.
Here's another one of my favorite parts of the ending. "Only two were unmarked. Tolya and Tamar led the charge, eyes wild, blades flashing, roaring my name." (page 408)
Hannah: I think that Genya will have an important role in the third book, Ruin and Rising, since she is referred to as the Ruined.
Natalie: Time for the ending. Alina really is fulfilling her martyrdom by being willing to die as a saint to stop the Darkling. She's going to earn many more followers even without succeeding.
Hannah: I loved the ending, especially Mal not letting Alina destroy herself to stop the Darkling.
Natalie: Alina losing her powers is just like the very beginning when she couldn't get her light to come.
Hannah: It was a great ending and book three cannot come soon enough.
Ratings (no spoilers here)
Hannah's Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭
Natalie's Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭
Overall Impression: READ THIS NOW. Well, read Shadow and Bone first if you haven't. But Siege and Storm is even better than Shadow and Bone. The Grisha series is unique, engaging, and has really pretty covers.
And here's a picture of the pretty chapter headings and our pretty Shadow and Bone nail polish that we got from Leigh Bardugo at the RT Booklovers Convention.